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Top 12 leadership tips

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  1. As a leader, you must be in control of yourself. This means running a sound business built on solid foundations and one that invests money into getting things right. Many business owners run businesses that are ‘all over the shop’ because they’re not in control of their own lives and their business is a reflection of this.
  2. To lead effectively, you must want to help others go up the ladder with you. If you think you aren’t a leader, you need to read about, develop and apply leadership skills more than anyone else. Keep remembering this: am I in control of myself? In his book Leadership Gold, US businessman John Maxwell said, “The foundation of all leadership is relationships. Leaders have to develop themselves first — you can’t develop others and have them follow you if you haven’t developed yourself.”
  3. Define reality because a leader doesn’t run away from the truth.
  4. Seek accountability — have an objective examiner bring the best out in you. Thomas Watson, IBM’s former chairman once said: “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does day to day to lead himself.”
  5. Don’t be afraid to show passion. Passion alone can make the ordinary extraordinary. US businessman Jack Welch once predicted: “The world will belong to passionate, driven leaders… people who not only have enormous amounts of energy but who can energise those whom they lead.”
  6. Put time into developing your strengths. Speaker and author Marcus Buckingham says search for your strength zone and encourage everyone on your team to do the same. He defines success as: “Knowing your purpose in life. Growing to your maximum potential and sowing the seeds that benefit others.”
  7. Ask yourself this question: What do I do well? Find your sweet spot. Once you’ve determined your sweet spot, go where you are relatively strong. Jack Welch says: “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” Then help others find their strength zones and empower them to work in them.
  8. Develop yourself as a role model who others follow. Trust is critical to get people to follow you but mistrust builds if you’re inconsistent, if personal gain outranks shared gain, if you withhold information, you play loose with the truth or you are closed-minded.
  9. The opposite of the above draws people to leaders. People quit incompetent leaders. People quit insecure leaders too! Customers will eventually quit a business that is ineffectively led because your leadership skills (or lack of them) will flow right through your business.
  10. Own your mistakes. Maturity and leadership come hand in hand. Take responsibility for a relationship gone bad – what was your role in the demise of the relationship? How can you improve yourself if you always blame the other person? Maxwell says that you have to grow up in order to go up.
  11. Make decisions. Immaturity keeps people on the sidelines where people are afraid to make decisions in case they’re wrong ones. Immature people protect themselves and care little for others. They fear making decisions in case flack comes back on them. You can see this happen in large companies particularly in middle management. If you don’t acknowledge your own mistakes then you have little hope of learning from them!
  12. A leader knows how to bring the best out in others. As Mother Theresa said “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” A leader knows when they’re selling to others that their offer will genuinely bring benefit to their client or customer – it’s not a question of a quick one-off sale. Leaders reap the benefits of doing good for others – and the rewards can be huge. As General Colin Powell, former US secretary of state said: “Leadership is the art of achieving more than the science of management says is possible.”

Work on your business, not in it. To learn how, book a complimentary business assessment today with a Switzer Business Coach.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. 

Published on: Monday, March 22, 2010

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