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Leadership lessons

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Leadership is crucial to your — and your business’s — success.

And leadership starts with leading yourself. Thomas Watson, IBM’s former chair, once said “nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does day to day to lead himself”.

And Watson’s not alone — leadership guru and best-selling author John Maxwell is right there with him.

“Leaders have to develop themselves first; you can’t develop others and have them follow you if you haven’t developed yourself,” says Maxwell.

Maxwell reminds us a leader’s first responsibility is to define reality because when it comes to leadership, a leader doesn’t run from the truth.

This is where many business owners trip up in leadership — they fail to take a brutally honest assessment of themselves.

This is the ‘make or break’ of what makes a good leader (and, of course, a good business).

But if leadership issues are holding you back, all is not lost! Business leader and commentator Peter Switzer can share many a story about those who have got this leadership caper right — who have been there and done that.

Leadership success stories

First up, meet the man who has carved quite the career. Neil Perry — restaurateur, entrepreneur and internationally renowned brand — turned his once small-time culinary vision into a big time business success story.

“When I caught up with Perry, I reminded him of way back when, before he made the big time — I interviewed him in those early days shortly after he’d been given some leadership pearls of wisdom from a business mentor,” says Switzer.

That mentor told Perry to do a SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Sure, you’re saying, that’s the first lesson in Business 101.


Leadership – stress test

This was a SWOT with a difference — instead of doing it on his fledging business, he put himself under the microscope.

And then he found people whose strengths were his weaknesses.

“You have to figure out what you’re good at and get people around you who can do the things that you’re not good at,” Perry told Switzer. “That’s part of leadership.

“The first thing you’ve got to remember when you’re a leader is you can’t do everything. Captaining a team is about getting the best out of all the people around you.”

Perry says a key ingredient to his success was to be surrounded by likeminded people who can drive the business in the same direction.

“Part of building a great business is getting all of these guys and girls together who really believe in the one philosophy.”

Without this philosophy, Perry says it’s hard — if not impossible — to move forward.

Leadership strengths

But confronting the truth isn’t always about finding your weak spots — it can also be a chance to face your talent and strengths.

When Switzer spoke with surfing legend (and lady to be reckoned with) Layne Beachley, she said it all boils down to self-belief and confidence in the ‘can do’.

She says you first need to say, “I’m worthy”.
Then, “I can”.
And, most importantly, “I am”.

If you’re going to take anyone’s advice, it should be Beachley’s — she’s defied the odds since the early 90s, making waves in a male-dominated sport and taking her first world title at an age many would class as veteran, before going on to claim another six.

Leadership vision

And here’s another hot tip to leave you with to up your ante in the leadership stakes— aside from attitude, Beachley says you have to have a goal and a vision.

“Write it down. I stuck it on my mirrors in my bedroom and just looked at that through the toughest times in my life. You’ve got a purpose to get yourself up in the morning, that will give you the motivation to overcome any obstacle you can ever encounter.”

Even, says Switzer, if that obstacle is you.
So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Published on: Tuesday, March 09, 2010

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