Great leaders come from many different places, and can really be anyone. But what does it take to be a leader with a strong impact in your space? Great leaders push others to lead, and are always mindful of helping each other succeed. When you think about it, the next great leader could be you, so let’s take a look at the fundamentals of successful leadership.
Communication is key to all successes, whether it’s in your work life or your home life. Knowing what you want accomplished (your own goals) may seem clear in your own head, but most of the time it’s unclear to others, especially when they look at you with that blank stare. Has this been your experience? If so, you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Honestly, it’s happened to me several times too, and that’s why I’m constantly trying to improve on my communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is very important and it’s not always easy to do. If you can relay your vision to your team, you will succeed!
If you expect your team to work hard and produce at a high level for your company, you’re going to need to lead by example. Yes, your ACTIONS do speak louder than your words. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level. Great leaders don’t push aside what they don’t want to do, because they are willing and able to do it all. From the worst job to the best, they will lead even in tough times, right down to those trenches.
You want to keep your teammates motivated towards the continued success and vision of your company. So how do you do that? It’s all about having a positive attitude. Encourage others to bring issues to you, but only if they bring in a solution for that issue. Your attitude is your EVERYTHING!
Many decisions are not clear-cut. At times, you may be forced to deviate from your regular set process and make an “on the fly” decision. This is where your creativity will prove to be vital to your success. During these situations, your teammates will look to you for guidance and you may be forced to make a split decision. As a leader (a good leader), it’s important to learn to think “outside the box.” I understand that you hear that all the time but if you can’t think outside that box you will make poor decisions. Many times great decisions come from an outside thought process. The worst decision you will make is if you don’t think things through, and just jump to the easiest possible solution. Usually, “easy” turns out to be the wrong design. Think over all of your possible options before making a decision in all circumstances.
There may be days where the future of your business is worrisome, and things aren’t going according to plan. Yes, this is very true with any business, no matter how small or how big, but it’s important to remember to stay calm. Your job as a great leader is to put out fires and maintain the team’s positive morale at the same time. Remember, don’t be cocky – be confident. You want to be professional, because there is a huge difference between the two.
Intuition will be your only survival when leading a team through the unknown or uncharted waters where there is there no road map on what to do. That brings stress and pushes you outside your comfortable zone, which is why intuition matters. That is where your natural intuition has to kick in if you’re going to succeed. Guiding your teammates through the process of your day-to-day tasks is critical. But when something unexpected occurs or happens in your life, or you’re thrown into a new scenario, your agency teammates will look to you for guidance, and yes, you are ready to lead. Analyzing on past experiences is good, because it helps you improve and review what you could have changed. Eventually though, the tough decisions will be up to you to decide and you will need to depend on your gut instinct for the right answers. I always listen to that gut feeling because it rarely pushes you in the wrong direction. Learn to trust yourself! If not, your team will see that you don’t trust yourself and that will lead to failure. So never doubt your your gut, you must believe in YOU!
The Ability to Inspire
A great leader has the ability to inspire others to be great, they don’t fear competition. Creating a business of your own often involves a bit of strategizing and planning. Especially in the early days of starting your business. A leader will inspire the team to see the vision of the company, and what success looks like. Help your teammates feel invested in the accomplishments and successes of the company. One of the key ingredients is getting them to believe that they are a part of the vision. Create a piece equity for every teammate and have them own it. Try setting up a reward/bonus system so teammates can be rewarded with money and enthusiasm for their hard work. Being able to inspire your teammates isn’t easy, and it takes lots of focus, but with the right vision and focus, you can and will be able to inspire. Another key ingredient to inspiring is that you must acknowledge your teammates for a job well done. Acknowledgment is so very important to the inspiration process because it keeps motivation and spirit up.
Overall, a great leader is a person that has that extra little something that drives people to success. You have to be grounded, and you have to be disciplined. But, what it truly comes down to is that you have to have a strong desire to help others succeed. You need to be the person that people strive to become, and take on the work with them, not just delegate. Be a strong leader, and push others to lead, and together we can find success!