Are you a good leader?
Are you a leader just because you run a business? Not automatically. But you need to be. Without leadership, the ship that is your business has no captain and no rudder and eventually will founder.
A leader is one who DOES THE RIGHT THINGS. This compares with a manager who DOES THINGS RIGHT. Both are important in a business, but a good leader will take a business and make it grow. Anyone can be a leader, even if the only person they’re leading is themselves.
But you can’t become a leader just by saying you are. Leadership needs to be worked at. There are many virtues to leadership that you can focus on and improve. Here is my top 5 and I invite you to challenge this list and suggest what you think are the most important qualities and skills of a great leader.
Planning and Goal Setting
Especially in the longer term. To map out the big stepping stones that are required to be laid down and passed in order to drive the business forward. But once the plan is in place, get out of the way and let the team get on with it. Don’t try to over-manage the process. If the goal is clear and the right resources are available, progress should be made.
Where will the company be in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years? What will it look like and in what markets is it likely to be in, or not be in? A leader can also describe the vision in positive and uplifting terms that are clear and unambiguous. A leader keeps an eye on the big picture and looks for opportunities to make big gains in competitive advantage.
Communicate that vision
A leader must be able to paint a clear picture of what his or her vision for the company is to enable fellow staff and other stakeholders to share and believe in that vision and align their plans, goals and actions with the overall vision. People need to “buy in to” the vision and are energized by it, and it is a leaders job to ensure they can do this. This must be done with humility and putting the needs of the company first and not chest beating about me-me-me.
Take action when it counts
When the sh*t hits the fan, you want a leader who will be able to sum up the situation that the company is facing, weigh up the options quickly and make a decision on the best way forward. “Courage under fire” is what it is known as in the army and some of the best leaders are born under this situation, while some wanabes wilt under the pressure. Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it all others depend.” A lack of courage will make achieving the other leadership virtues hard, if not impossible.
Set high standards and follows them
Leadership is defined through action. You need to “walk the talk and consistently live by the other virtues mentioned above – all the time. Becoming a leader isn’t easy because it takes a conscious commitment and consistent effort to develop one’s leadership skills. But on the positive side, anyone who is willing to make the effort can become a good leader.
And as good leadership is critical to business success, your efforts to improve your leadership skills will be rewarded. By working on these five key virtues of leadership, you can become the leader your business needs.
Questions or comments? Contact me https://www.tradescoach.co.nz/contact/