I used to fight organizational changes with every ounce of my being. (Those who know me would agree–there are a lot of ounces when you’re over 6-feet tall.) I viewed an org chart as my enemy. What I didn’t realize is that org chart changes create opportunities for leaders. We can adapt and grow once we know how things are changing. We get a clearer picture of what the company is trying to do. It’s a cheat sheet for better leadership.
Steve Jobs built a company that completely changed multiple industries, and he did so by singularly looking at possibilities no one had ever considered. Imagine ten to twenty years before the first iPhone came out, if you had described that idea to your friend, they would probably have laughed you and thought you were a dreamer.
Over the past 13 years working as a journalist, I’ve talked to thousands of company founders, business consultants, and leadership gurus about what it takes to lead a company. Usually, during these interviews and meetups, I’ve nodded in agreement after recognizing the successes and failures during my own corporate tenure.
Next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating I hate my work, guess which feelings those words will evoke? It’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: Just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
“Real leadership is when everyone else feels in charge,” Bono tells Fortune. And he has lived by this maxim. He helped persuade global leaders to write off debt owed by the poorest countries and encouraged the Bush administration and others to vastly increase AIDS relief. Now, through his ONE and (RED) campaigns, he is enlisting major companies and millions of people to combat AIDS, poverty, and preventable diseases.
To develop your leadership skills, it’s best to pinpoint the areas that you feel you are not ‘up to par’ with, and strengthen them. To make this easy for you, I have a complete guide on all the most important leadership traits categorized into three areas:
Managers, however, dance on a fault line – they either have the behaviours that inspire followers to do what they otherwise may not be willing to do, and without creating any psychological distress, or they do not and the costs will escalate and ripple for a long time
Take time to educate yourself and become qualified. Never assume that you learn as much on the job. In this global economy, those wishing to succeed must have the necessary tools to be successful, and that includes having an education.
Get in the habit of paying attention to small details around you. Appreciate the feeling of the sun on your skin, the sensation of your feet walking on the ground, or the artwork in the restaurant you are eating in. Noticing things like these will help you silence a rambling mind and appreciate every moment.
So I told him, “I want to be a bestseller, but I also want to generate $X million in and I want to do this publicity and blah blah blah —” He cut me off and said, “Cut the BS. What’s your number one goal?”
Aristocratic thinkers have postulated that leadership depends on one’s “blue blood” or genes. Monarchy takes an extreme view of the same idea, and may prop up its assertions against the claims of mere aristocrats by invoking divine sanction (see the divine right of kings). Contrariwise, more democratically inclined theorists have pointed to examples of meritocratic leaders, such as the Napoleonic marshals profiting from careers open to talent.
Critical feedback—when administered right—can be powerful,too. When issues arise, talk about risks or details people might not have anticipated. Walking through these unforeseen challenges together can affirm your team’s thinking, which will build their confidence and, over time, make them less reliant on you.
Finally, accept that we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. When you do, try to learn the lessons, but don’t be destabilised. Someone told me once: “don’t chew the cud”. Keep moving forward, be resilient, remember that things will get better. And smile.
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Here’s an example story of poor leadership: An airline’s forks kept disappearing and no one knew why. After an investigation, it was discovered the dishwashers were throwing them away because they had trouble with adequately cleaning them and they were scared of punishment if they returned dirty forks (and would thusly be reprimanded). If you’re too dictatorial, your team will throw away your forks. Better management would have prevented this problem. So be kind and keep your entire cutlery.
You have to set a vision. That requires a clear sense of purpose, a clear sense of direction and a clear picture of the destination. You need to be able to explain in terms that people understand and support what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, how you will go about it and how everyone will know when you get there. That is what I have been trying to do with Diplomatic Excellence.
^ Jump up to: a b c d Sy, T.; Cote, S.; Saavedra, R. (2005). “The contagious leader: Impact of the leader’s mood on the mood of group members, group affective tone, and group processes” (PDF). Journal of Applied Psychology. 90 (2): 295–305. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.2.295. PMID 15769239.
But what we often don’t realize is that genuine success isn’t attained in one huge, monumental push. Genuine success is made up of many smaller achievements, day to day. Becoming a successful runner isn’t crossing the finish line of your first race. It’s built on the accomplishment of every training run and exercise you complete along the way.
Identify potential mentors who have similar values, then have casual meetings with them to find the one with whom you have good rapport. Be prepared to explain what you hope to learn, why you value their insight and expertise, and what you bring to the relationship.
Be persistent. You’re going to fail — that much is a given. Never hesitate to be a failure, since life gives many chances. What will define you is how you pick yourself up after you’ve fallen. Don’t give up. If your first attempt didn’t work, don’t quit.
Coaching/ Pace-Setting Leader – You know not everyone fully understands your idea, but there are some that do. Those who understand it immediately begin to work while you bring the rest up to speed, soon you’re all working well together and your plan is implemented.
However, over the past several decades, we’ve seen a shift from physical-labor oriented jobs to thought and connection centered work. Today’s workers are not simply motivated the same way as their parents’ parents were. This is common knowledge, yet we insist on managing this new breed of workers as if they were still working on the factory floor.
Never forget that achieving a goal is based on creating routines. Say you want to write a 300-page book. That’s your goal. Your system to achieve that goal could be to write four pages a day–that’s your routine.
Leadership is defined through action. Therefore, in developing your own skills, you have to act in ways that are fitting to your leadership vision and your self – all the time. We can all name many actions of other people whom we admire, but what inspires us is the integrity that gives these actions meaning.
A number of works in the 19th century – when the traditional authority of monarchs, lords and bishops had begun to wane – explored the trait theory at length: note especially the writings of Thomas Carlyle and of Francis Galton, whose works have prompted decades of research. In Heroes and Hero Worship (1841), Carlyle identified the talents, skills, and physical characteristics of men who rose to power. Galton’s Hereditary Genius (1869) examined leadership qualities in the families of powerful men. After showing that the numbers of eminent relatives dropped off when his focus moved from first-degree to second-degree relatives, Galton concluded that leadership was inherited. In other words, leaders were born, not developed. Both of these notable works lent great initial support for the notion that leadership is rooted in characteristics of a leader.
Late in my corporate career, I spent countless hours tweaking budgets and moving numbers around in a spreadsheet. Fun times! Because of my attitude about spending money, I viewed the value of an employee in monetary terms. If I did it all over again, I’d view employees first and only as individuals with creative ideas that add value.
At this stage of business leadership, you put together your planning and your leadership vision and take action. Whether it’s implementing a specific plan to improve your business’s bottom line or responding to a crisis, you, as the leader, are the one who makes the decisions and sees that the appropriate actions are carried out.
Make decisions and take responsibility for the consequences. To exert influence and tackle bigger problems, you’re going to need decision-making power, and those decisions will affect the people who grant you that power. This is as much a responsibility as it is an honor. Not only do you need to be able to make sound decisions, but you also need to be willing to be held accountable to them. If things go wrong, people will assume it’s your fault (whether it is or not).