Leadership: How to Get From Good to Great
Company leaders always want to motivate, inspire, and support their people to the absolute fullest. But most go to bed at night suspecting that they're coming up a little short. Maybe more than a little. Take heart: You can become a truly great leader. All it takes is:
Great leadership requires effort--lots of effort. And much of that effort revolves around learning: about your people, your operations, your industry, and yourself. Be relentless in your pursuit of knowledge about everything--and everyone--in your business ecosystem.
Develop a clear vision for what your business is all about, and don't lose faith in it. Know in your heart that you and your team can accomplish anything you set out to accomplish if you work together and believe in one another. You will undoubtedly encounter setbacks, but don’t be deterred. Learn from failure and remain confident.
Great leaders communicate sincerely, often, and in many different ways to everyone in their organizations. They inform, provide feedback, and motivate--intelligently and honestly. Connect with all your people and cultivate multiple channels for two-way. When you hear your own words and messages repeated back to you from your employees, or when your employees talk among themselves using your words to describe your vision and goals, then you know you’re making an impact.
Form teams and groups that are constituted for maximum effectiveness. Recognize that in order to do their very best work most employees need consistent support and input from co-workers, peers, and managers. When you create this kind of environment, you'll see an immediate impact on productivity and effectiveness--as well as morale.
Highly effective leaders are decisive when called upon to make tough calls quickly and confidently. Take a moment to assess a difficult situation and then calmly and rationally consider your options. As soon as you have the information you need to make an informed decision, make it. Don't let fear of being wrong prevent you from making what you know is the right call.
Study after study finds that the No. 1 quality that employees want leaders to possess is integrity. Always be candid, forthright, honest, and fair. Treat your people as you want to be treated. Your employees will respect you and respond in kind.
When times are tough, be the person that people look to for inspiration. Don't just talk, act. Reassure your employees and help them overcome their own doubts and anxieties. Model the kind of positive behavior you want to see in them.
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While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.