As a leader, you know your basic mission: to grow a sound, financially successful company that makes you proud to be its owner. The truth is, though, a lot of what succeeds on a corporate level depends on your team. To help them develop into the best they can be – and in turn benefit your business – think beyond the bottom line.
Here are seven tips that will propel you toward your leadership goals.
1. Do what’s right for your people.
When it comes to dealing with people, there are countless scenarios that are in the grey area, but there are plenty that are black and white. When the latter presents itself, let the decision always be in favor of your people. Reward the employee who’s gone above and beyond; back someone who’s made an innocent mistake; and increase freedom if deserved.
2. Adopt “the window and the mirror” concept.
In his book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins writes about the concept of the window and the mirror. Great leaders look out the window to give credit when things go well. They rarely seek to take credit, preferring instead to go out of their way to recognize others on the team whose contributions have driven the results. When mistakes happen, the most successful leaders tend to point towards the mirror and take the brunt of the responsibility.
3. Take responsibility to pass down knowledge.
No one makes it to a prominent leadership position without the help of countless others along the way. Whether it was the stand-out coach who taught you what it meant to be a part of a team in your childhood, the professor who first got your attention about entrepreneurship or your first boss who showed you the ropes, someone put the time and energy into helping you become who you are today. Great leaders pay it back. They also realize that for their organization to continue to move forward, it is critical to develop a deep roster of future leaders.
4. Be a source of inspiration and positivity.
Great leaders make everyone around them feel good about their involvement with their organization. They help create an environment where no one is in it just for themselves because they are part of a larger cause. This is a by-product of an inspired, happy team.
Every organization should seek out contributors that are self-motivated by nature, but that doesn’t mean that motivation should come as an afterthought to them. An inspired team is a team that can overcome unexpected challenges and disruptions. Conversely, an uninspired group most definitely will not.
5. Make course corrections.
I’ve never seen a real-life plan executed exactly the way it appeared on the original business plan. Stuff or life happens, and you need to make adjustments. Effective leaders know this and don’t get so married to any one plan that they aren’t able to adapt as needed.
6. Don’t shoot from the hip.
As the previous point mentioned, route adjustments will become necessary. Always make strategic adjustments, however, with careful consideration, weighing out the ramifications of the move. The further you rise up the leadership chain, the more reverberations your decisions make. I’ve witnessed many times where a strategic adjustment has been made with one department’s or group’s best interest in mind, only to have some undesirable, unintended consequences on another group.
7. Don’t forget where you started.
As mentioned in point 3, leaders don’t start out at the top from day one. It’s a process of years and years of hard work. As a leader who’s charged with the awesome responsibility of directing an entire organization, never lose sight of where you came from. Never forget what it was like when you were in a junior position with the starter salary and job description. Keeping this in mind will help you to understand the challenges your team faces and how to best put them in a position to succeed.