Who comes to mind when you think of great leaders? Dynasty’s formidable business woman, Alexis Colby, originally inspired me to pursue my dreams and set up my own company. Yet, we all know it takes more than flashy hats, big hair and a kick-ass attitude to successfully lead a team in the real world.
When we attend a conference or other networking event, we have a tendency to flit from person to person and collect many business cards. This is the antithesis of what an introvert would do. As Cain says, introverts “prefer to connect one-on-one and around an issue they find important. So while an extrovert might attend an event and end up chatting with everyone, an introvert might attend an event, and have a few one-on-one conversations.”
Robert Kiyosaki is most famous for teaching the world about the importance in how financial literacy plays such a crucial role in the lives of successful entrepreneurs. Those who live from paycheck to paycheck are also those that fill their lives with liabilities – car and house payments, credit cards, and other materialistic things that cost them money. Those who are financially literate, however, understand the importance of building assets – things that make them money instead. Once you start having a positive asset column, you can then learn how to make even more money through investing. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to know how to take money and make it work for you.
Good managers attract exceptional staff; they make the organisation a preferred employer; they help to increase market share; add to profits and surpluses, and reduce costs. Their staff are engaged, committed and ‘go the extra mile’.
In 2005 the self-made furniture exporter was elected mayor of Solo, a 500,000-person city in Indonesia. “Jokowi,” as he’s known, cleaned up the city and rooted out corruption, thrilling an Indonesian public weary of the status quo. His ascent since then has been swift: In 2012 he became governor of Jakarta. Now he’s the favorite for Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential election.
Many personality characteristics were found to be reliably associated with leadership emergence. The list include, but is not limited to following (list organized in alphabetical order): assertiveness, authenticity, Big Five personality factors, birth order, character strengths, dominance, emotional intelligence, gender identity, intelligence, narcissism, self-efficacy for leadership, self-monitoring and social motivation. Leadership emergence is the idea that people born with specific characteristics become leaders, and those without these characteristics do not become leaders. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Nelson Mandela all share traits that an average person does not. This includes people who choose to participate in leadership roles, as opposed to those who do not. Research indicates that up to 30% of leader emergence has a genetic basis. There is no current research indicating that there is a “leadership gene”, instead we inherit certain traits that might influence our decision to seek leadership. Both anecdotal, and empirical evidence support a stable relationship between specific traits and leadership behavior. Using a large international sample researchers found that there are three factors that motivate leaders; affective identity (enjoyment of leading), non-calculative (leading earns reinforcement), and social-normative (sense of obligation).
Such heroic leaders are unlikely to emerge in normal times. But these are not normal times. On the contrary, today’s unprecedented inequality in many parts of the world is precisely the kind of injustice that could spur the emergence of great leaders with compassion for those at the bottom. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the young leader who most radiates hope today, was elected partly because of his commitment to helping ordinary people.
Leadership also includes looking for leadership potential in others. By developing leadership skills within your team, you create an environment where you can continue success in the long term. And that’s a true measure of great leadership.
Once you take on a supervisory position, it’s time to trust your team to handle logistics while you focus on the vision and direction of your organization. This shows everyone that you believe in them, boosting their confidence and inspiring them to take more control of their work—which is essential to their own development as well as your progress.
Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja in Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership present evidence of leadership in nonhuman animals, from ants and bees to baboons and chimpanzees. They suggest that leadership has a long evolutionary history and that the same mechanisms underpinning leadership in humans can be found in other social species, too. Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, in Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, present evidence that only humans and chimpanzees, among all the animals living on Earth, share a similar tendency for a cluster of behaviors: violence, territoriality, and competition for uniting behind the one chief male of the land. This position is contentious. Many animals beyond apes are territorial, compete, exhibit violence, and have a social structure controlled by a dominant male (lions, wolves, etc.), suggesting Wrangham and Peterson’s evidence is not empirical. However, we must examine other species as well, including elephants (which are matriarchal and follow an alpha female), meerkats (who are likewise matriarchal), and many others.
Leen Sawalha’s interest in the effects of motivation and behaviour on businesses has led her to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Human Resources Management. Currently in the process of acquiring her MBA, Leen’s expertise lies in the integration of both disciplines to enhance the effectiveness of an organization’s human capital.
When I looked back on my days as an athlete, I understood what was different. I remembered what (or who) made me push myself even when I didn’t want to. The difference was, as an athlete, I had structured days and a to report to. Structure keeps us focused and a coach keeps pushing and challenging us.
And as good business leadership is critical to business success, your efforts to improve your leadership skills will be amply rewarded. By working on these five keys to business leadership, you can be the leader your small business needs.
Thoughts influence feelings and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone).
Cy Wakeman is a national keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times bestselling author, blogger and trainer who has spent over 20 years cultivating a revolutionary, reality-based approach to leadership. For more on Cy, check out www.realitybasedleadership.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
For example, most schools today have very limited budgets, making it difficult to pay for innovative new programs. When Margaret Chiu, principal of Galileo High School, finds a new program she thinks will benefit her students, she doesn’t waste time lamenting the lack of funding. She gets busy. She immediately begins thinking of who in the community she can ask to help support and pay for the program. She has created partnerships with businesses, local colleges, and health care professionals that help enrich her school’s curriculum.
Bosses may consider themselves to be an “expert in everything” and may think of themselves as the only person able to deliver a solution to the entire team. A leader may facilitate brainstorming and encourage their team to ask smart questions. They may be more inclined than a boss to make a decision based on discussions they’ve had with their team. A leader may say what they think needs to be done, but the team members may help decide how it’s actually executed.
To develop into a great leader, you first need to understand where and how you can truly make an impact. Strong leadership doesn’t maintain the status quo but takes on powerful challenges and finds a way to make a significant difference in any situation.
You cannot do everything, right. It is important for a leader to focus on key responsibilities while leaving the rest to others. By that, I mean empowering your followers and delegating tasks to them. If you continue to micromanage your subordinates, it will develop a lack of trust and more importantly, you will not be able to focus on important matters, as you should be. Delegate tasks to your subordinates and see how they perform. Provide them with all the resources and support they need to achieve the objective and give them a chance to bear the responsibility.
A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer “analysis paralysis” but is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.
Good leadership is about acquiring and honing skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or at the workplace. The following is a list of the qualities that all successful leaders share.
Introverts are not only quieter than extroverts, but they’re also generally calm and collected. In noisy and chaotic organizations, which are often cauldrons of emotion, an introvert’s presence is like a salve to the psyche. Their quiet energy is a hidden asset. As Beth Buelow, author of Insight: Reflections on the Gifts of Being an Introvert, notes: “My energy tends to be a calming presence, which means I don’t take up too much space in a room or conversation. And I don’t need to take up a lot of space. I have a greater influence when I am intentional and deliberate in my speech and presence.”
You need to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. And more importantly you need to have the desire to constantly improve upon them. Being open-minded and consistently seeking formal and informal feedback will do much to help you in your improvement efforts.