Being likeable will help you in your job, business, relationships, and life. I interviewed dozens of successful business leaders for my last book, to determine what made them so likeable and their companies so successful. All of the concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful. Below are the eleven most important principles to integrate to become a better leader:
Don’t wait for feedback from your team — they may never offer it. After all, you’re the one dictating how things are going; they may not think their opinion matters. Ask them how you’re doing, how they’re doing, and what they see to make the whole process better. Just because they’re not leading doesn’t mean they’re not full of great ideas!
They don’t react to the day-to-day noise in their business, instead, they seek systematic and strategic solutions that not only resolve today’s problems but also prevent future problems from occurring.
Are you a good writer? Are you passionate about HR, leadership, and organizational development? Would you like to be featured on our awesome Business Happiness blog? You’re in luck because we are now accepting guest posts! Just download these Guest Blogging Guidelines to get started.
“A good leader can hold his or her emotions in check, especially in tough situations,” said David Moore, founding partner and regional vice president of Addison Group staffing firm. “For example, maybe you lost your best client, or a deal you’ve been working on falls through. Regardless, it’s important for leaders to guide a team through challenging times, encouraging them and remaining positive along the way. Team morale is heavily contingent upon a leader’s attitude.”
Individuals who take on leadership roles in turbulent situations, such as groups facing a threat or ones in which status is determined by intense competition among rivals within the group, tend to be narcissistic: arrogant, self-absorbed, hostile, and very self-confident.
As president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes”,1 his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.2 Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest – no doubt that helped during some tense moments in the White House!
Not everyone can be the “leader” as it’s most commonly defined in 21st-century popular culture. But everyone can develop their leadership qualities and use the influence they have in positive ways. These qualities and skills serve people well no matter what their position in life, and they ensure that when a situation arises that requires their particular skills, qualities, and knowledge, they’ll be ready to step in, lead, and make the path smoother and better for everyone.
Identify the skills you need to sharpen and the skills you can outsource. Outsourcing is all about time-management. You may think of yourself as a superman or superwoman, but there are limits to your powers. Outsourcing certain less essential tasks gives you more time to focus on the things that are absolutely essential to your craft.
Before you start working toward changing your mindset regarding what it takes to be successful, you must know your desired outcome — clarity is power. Being clear about exactly what you want is the first step in achieving any kind of improvement. The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to take the actionable steps needed to achieve it. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want, because energy follows focus. Why send your energy towards things you don’t want? Instead, clarify for yourself what you do want and train your brain to notice things that can help you make it happen.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, has that one of the key elements of being a good business leader is the capacity to tell the hard truths. “Leaders struggle with this problem all the time,” says David Thomas. “From a leadership point of view, you always want to move toward telling the hard truths and helping people cope with the realities of change. But as a manager, you might be more inclined to minimize the complexity of a situation so things can run smoothly for as long as possible. It’s often a judgment call.”
Take calculated risks. Step out of your comfort zone. Successful people think big and act big. Don’t wait for opportunities to fall in your lap. Sniff them out. Successful people make big investments (in their careers, in their businesses, in their education) and all investments involve risk. Study your risks, make sure the odds are in your favor, and take a leap. Be bold. Three calculated risks to consider:
For many businesspeople, the last thing you want to worry about (or do) is managing people. You want to get out there and meet customers and create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities through your front door. But unless you’ve hired people to take on the task of managing your employees, then you’re still on the hook.
It’s okay to get personal–just not too personal. There’s no need to explain how the dog is sick or how your car is on the fritz. That’s not what I mean. In a meeting, it’s okay to quickly share a few personal tidbits about your kids or a recent vacation. Don’t just jump right into the budget report or the customer wins. Let your employees know more about you and that you exist as a person outside of work. They will know you are human.
Leaders who participated in the same developmental programs and received the same type of feedback—but did not follow-up—were seen as improving by no more than random chance would imply. Here are some specific ways to increase your leadership effectiveness:
Not everyone will be happy for you and your success. Some people are insecure and jealous. Be prepared for them, and look past them until you find the people who are happy for you and who support you in all that you do.