Mark Richardson, CR
Leadership. What does leadership look like or smell like? Why are some leaders better than others? Do you know what your leadership style is? Do others think you are a good or a great leader? How often do you look in the mirror and see your effective leadership? Most important, why is this subject significant, especially now?
I have always been fascinated by successful people in all walks of life. Not just by what they have achieved but by what they have become and how they are different from others.
I have written about many of their attributes and behaviors. I have studied their ability to communicate and inspire others. This thought process also extends to the businesses they run and the individual leaders behind the wheel. Now more than ever, the difference between the good companies and the great companies is primarily the leaders.
One could argue this has always been the case; however, I believe because of the recession and the extended unpredictability in the business environment, leadership is more important than ever. Your team is more confused about the future. Your product may or may not be relevant in this new world order. Your clients are not the same as they were in the go-go times of 2005.
Great leadership provides a light for those who are confused. Great leadership knows when to hold them and when to fold them. Great leadership knows when to adjust and change.
As I touch on so many great leaders and as well as poor ones, the following are some elements of great leadership.
Visionary Great leaders look out to the future (not just the here and now). Great leaders invest more time in long-term planning and thinking. While the visions of different leaders may vary, great leaders realize it is their job to be the visionary of the business. They listen to others but they are the visionaries.
Inspire Great leaders inspire others. We are all human beings, but to accomplish extraordinary things, we need to believe. We need to be inspired by others. We see this in great sports coaches or great presidents or great religious leaders. Inspiration is a blend of art and science. A blend of facts and beliefs that are not dogmatic formulas.
Planners Great leaders have great planning skills. The know success comes from action not just dreams. They know how to plan and how to execute a plan successfully. These are skills they develop and fine-tune.
Goal oriented Great leaders are very goal oriented. They have a laser focus on the goal. They know how to stretch but they make sure the goal is attainable and measurable. They are not “flavor of the month” thinkers. They may be creative and explore out of the box ideas, but they keep their eye on the prize.
Love what they do Great leaders are not only skilled but they are also passionate about being a leader. Because their passion is leadership, they are students of leadership (good and bad). Every day they wake up understanding their job is to be the leader and ask themselves what they need to do it better.
Communicators Great leaders understand communicating is paramount for them to accomplish anything. Communication does not mean being a great speaker or writer, it means connecting to those they are leading. Great communicators touch both the minds and the hearts of others. Great communicators invest energy in being great at communicating.
Walk their talk Great leaders walk their talk. This is why great salespeople don’t always make great leaders. Walking your talk means not only being honest and doing the right thing. It also means when a leader creates the rules they go overboard living within the guidelines.
You may have other attributes or descriptions of great leadership, but you generally know a great leader when you see them. What I want to impress upon you, however, is that now more than ever we need great leadership. You need to invest time and energy into improving your leadership skills today. Those businesses with strong leadership will soar ahead of the average ones.
So, in closing, I believe if you focus on you and the other future leaders in your business, you can achieve the success that you dream of every day. PR
Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” as well as “Fit to Grow.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.