If you are in a leadership role or have been identified as having the potential to be in a senior management or leadership role you are clearly good at what you do right now.
Being a leader in many ways like an athlete continually striving to improve on a personal best. Rest on your laurels and you are probably on the slippery slope to diminishing performance. While you cannot deliver perfect results all of the time (nor can anyone) there are some things that you should aspire to do as a leader.
1. Know Yourself and Your Unique Strengths
Tempting as it might be to get involved in everything, the reality is that there are only so many hours in the day. You can choose to focus all of your efforts on things you do okay or things where you excel. Which do you think will yield the best results? Good leaders know that they need to allocate their time to the things that they do best.
2. Get The Engagement and Buy-In Of People
There may have been a time when leaders got things done or achieved as result of their position or seniority. However times have changed and you have to get people on board and buying into your agenda in order to make things happen.
3. Build Great Teams
The insecure leader will focus on recruiting people who present no threat. The best leaders will on the other hand get the best people they can around them and even people who will take on their job.
4. Listen A Lot
Much is written about the importance of communication and of course this matters. For me listening is a distinct and often under used sub-set of communication. When you listen you get ideas, insights, feedback and vital clues to name just a few.
5. Make The Tough Calls
No matter what industry or sector you are in you need to be willing to make tough choices from time to time. Good leaders understand this and make the calls even when it is tough. Remember that just because you make the tough calls does not mean you lack compassion.
6. Hold People To Account
Some leaders do a great job at setting clear expectations but then don’t follow through or hold people to account for what they have agreed to deliver.
7. Give A Lot Of Credit To Others
Whenever anything of significance is achieved where do you look first to give credit? The not so good leaders bask in the glory while the best will go out of their way to give credit to others.
8. Be A Role Model
Followers are strongly influenced by the example you set. So take care to model the style and behaviours you really want.
As a leader you will find that you have multiple stakeholders, all with very different agendas. In truth managing stakeholders is all about relationships. It is those relationships that will get you through the difficult and good times.
10. Keep Developing
No one ever reaches the point where they have no more to learn. If you find yourself in this position you might want to seek out a new challenge or get some honest feedback.
The Bottom Line: Leading is tough and in many ways is ongoing work in progress. Keep striving to do your best and deliver great success.