Popular leadership books often use the phrase “born leader” to describe those who possess a natural ability to lead others. What many fail to mention is the number of “natural” leaders who had help along the way.
It can take years to become an overnight success. If you are willing to do the work and follow this advice, you can certainly cut that time in half.
Here are 10 leadership tips for succeeding all around:
- Move forward by looking backward. Have you been successful because of your leadership, or in spite of it? I’ve watched time and time again as companies and leaders succeed in spite of poor management skills. Now, imagine the levels of success they could have achieved if those who were in charge had great leadership skills? Or even just good leadership skills? Gather feedback about your management style and adjust accordingly.
- Lead by example. Behave as you would want your employees to behave, but also understand that your role is different from that of your employees.
- Surround yourself with the right people. Hire for fit, train for skill, and if the opportunity presents itself, hire people who are better than you. Be prepared for the arrival of new hires so they immediately feel connected to the organization.
- Stop the blame game. It’s always someone or something that is at fault. But in the end, the buck stops with you. Sure, you may not have inherited a stellar team, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocrity. You have the power to inspire people to exceed expectations. You also have the power to release people who aren’t making the grade. What you don’t get to do is blame everyone else for your team’s failure to perform.
- Cut your losses early. Mismatches happen, no matter how good you are at interviewing. Take action quickly to avoid having the rest of the team distracted by a poor hire.
- Invest in yourself and your people. Can you name one organization that has cut its way to exceptional customer service? I can’t. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. If your firm prides itself on customer service then invest in more people to reduce the wait times, especially during peak calling hours. And while you are at it, give your employees the tools and training they need to provide exceptional service.
- Build on strengths. Everyone focuses on improving weaknesses. You can distinguish yourself by paying particular attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the greatest return for your investment.
- It’s better to be respected than love. As human beings, we have a natural tendency to want to be loved. But what happens when your desire to be loved interferes with your ability to lead? Effective leaders recognize it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They make the tough decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.
- Your success depends on the success of others. To succeed as a manager, you will need to shift your focus from “me” to “we.” Going forward, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, you will be evaluated on your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.
- Find a coach or a mentor. You are ultimately responsible for your own success. If you are lucky, you may get approval to attend a training session this year. It’s a start, however training isn’t going to ultimately get you where you want to go. Find a coach or a mentor who can swiftly guide you through the landmines that exist in every organization.
It’s time to try something new if what you’ve been doing all along isn’t getting you the results you are seeking. Choose one or two of the above tips and move those items forward. Then select a few more. Before long, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a natural leader who is succeeding all around.
© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved. Roberta Matuson is also the author of the highly acclaimed bookSuddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around. She also blogs regularly at www.yourhrexperts.com/blog.