Business is becoming more and more complex with times. It is survival of the fittest. Interestingly, opportunities are increasing. It is the dynamic way of business that is making it very complex.
Business needs a leader to flourish. Some businesses have everything it takes to flourish but lacks the leadership to lead the way. Leadership is fickle. Many people want to lead. People fight and even kill for leadership, but few have what it takes to lead.
The high tech dynamic socioeconomics of the current world demands leaders who have mastered leadership skills in order to remain relevant and productive. The end product of good leadership in a business is success.
How Do You Define Success?
I have met people with different and sometimes weird definitions of success.
Sometimes it is having lots of money, others urge the world to tone down on materialism because to them success is being happy. Others think it’s being healthy, others think it’s being powerful, etc.
So what is a success? Success is simply the ability to accomplish your aim, whatever your aim is.
So it’s true, different people will have different definitions of success, but when you come down to it you realize that it’s quite similar because human goals all over the world seem to be the same – win an election, get a job promotion, make money, etc.
All leaders want success. We are going to look at some of the things that successful leaders consistently have in common – the secrets to their success.
Successful Leaders are Servants
Servant leadership is the kind of leadership where the leader is willing to have some temporary discomforts in order to deliver to his followers what needs to be delivered. It is the selflessness of a leader. It is the kind of leadership where the leader focusses on the greater course over self-actualization.
A leader who humbles themselves for the benefits of their followers prepares themselves for a greater future. A servant leader goes out of their way to do what has no benefit to him but benefits the community and the people they are serving immensely. It is the servant leadership that drives the philanthropic world. Leaders who are servants and not bosses have the edge over leaders who love being the boss.
It’s important to note though that most current world leaders love projecting themselves as servant leaders, but in a real sense, very few of them can pass as such. Doing something for the cameras does not make you one though it might earn you some superficial respect. In the end, real servant leaders always show.
Unlike management, leadership is fluid. Managers many times have rules they must follow, and their decisions are more limited. A leader can break the rules once in a while if that is what it takes to achieve the greater good. This concept allows leaders to be creative.
Creativity doesn’t have to be in the creation of artwork. Creativity in leadership revolves mostly around how we treat other people, how we interact with other people, partners, stakeholders, and customers. Creativity in leadership is expressive.
Creativity involves moving away from rigid structures and trying new things. A creative leader sees things that other people don’t see and may offer solutions that other people first find ridiculous but later come to appreciate very much. A 2010 survey by IBM of 1500 top business heads found that creativity was the most important quality a leader needs in order to succeed.
Creative leadership helps businesses and organizations discover new problem-solving ways. It also assists in achieving growth where creative leaders will be able to identify new routes of reaching a particular goal which may be cheaper, more effective and more practical.
A creative leader will keep the lower level employees from feeling forgotten by coming up with new opportunities for them. Creative leaders engage all levels of employees and allow everyone to brainstorm their ideas which gives everyone a sense of belonging.
Creative leaders will embrace very unpopular perspectives which many times end up being what the organization just needed. The world is changing fast and keeping on doing the same thing over and over is not good for business.
Vision can be defined as the picture of the future that somebody has in his mind. Vision is guiding. Vision gives us the drive to keep going on and keep working hard on whatever we have been working hard on. Vision gives hope and purpose. It inspires. Vision gives a snapshot of the possibility.
The one thing that sets high performing leaders apart from the rest is their unlimited vision. Unlike many leaders who achieve one goal and feel they’ve gotten it, successful leaders keep creating new visions after the former has been achieved.
The vision shows a business where it’s headed. You can’t just run a business and keep on running it without creating a goal – a vision. You have to be moving towards something. Vision helps a leader prepare for the future and keeps the fuel burning during the hard times.
As much as a leader needs to inspire the follows, he/she needs something to inspire them too. This is how vision comes in handy.
I used to do very well in Mathetics back in high school. I was always the top of the class. One day I didn’t make it even to the top ten. I was very heartbroken and criticized myself for not working hard enough. I tore into myself mercilessly and internally made a very big deal of it until some of my friends realized it and felt I was being jealous. I wasn’t though, I was just not happy at myself.
Self-compassion is seen by many as selfish, and many leadership trainers don’t really emphasize it enough. This is a reason it is often ignored by many leaders. Many also feel it leads to mediocrity when you keep on forgiving yourself of mistakes. Self-compassion is, however, a very important attribute to successful leadership. Here are some tips for enhancing your self-compassion:-
- Nobody is perfect. Stop expecting perfection from yourself when nobody who’s ever lived has ever been perfect. Expecting nothing but perfection from yourself is unrealistic and unhealthy.
- Learn to prevent negative thoughts. In fact, reframe your negative thoughts and make them look like works from a miserable person who doesn’t wish you any good.
- Learn to address yourself in a nice way. Don’t be mean to yourself in your thoughts. This is something you can practice on a daily basis.
Winston Churchill once referred to courage, as something that real leaders have to depend on.
Having courage means a leader can take risks and try new paths. Life has no certainty. Nobody knows tomorrow, so everything you do is a risk. If doing the same thing over and over is already a risk then there surely is nothing wrong with trying something new. Great leaders understand this, and that is why they keep on taking risks and making inroads.
The future is for the risk takers to take and not for the security seekers to hide. Great leaders move out of their comfort zones and take on the future and whatever it has to offer.
A leaders courage is put to the ultimate test in a time of crisis. The crisis is inevitable in leadership, and during a crisis, everyone looks at the leader for guidance and direction. The ability to take on a crisis can’t be taught in class. Courage cannot be taught in class. It’s something you train yourself to do.
A good leader should train themselves to be courageous by taking risks when there is no crisis so as to remain calm during the crisis. Just remaining calm takes you a long way in terms of how your followers respect you and maintain the faith in you. The first lesson in the school of courage is to decide that you will always remain calm even when crisis strikes.
Successful leaders give their followers a reason to stay
Studies indicate that 1/3 of employees leave because of being in bad terms with their boss. The boss is supposed to be the leader. The leader is somebody who should have followers. If people are starting not to follow you, then it simply means you are not worth following – in simple terms – you are not a leader.
Employees performance depend on how well they get along with you. A leader’s following is dependant on how the masses view the leader. A leader should not only be an example to the followers but also make them feel he cares about them. A leader is thus supposed to listen to his followers and respond to their whims appropriately. Small gestures like appreciating their hard work, recognizing them, saying hi when you meet and generally attending to their needs where necessary give them a reason to stay. Remember to carry yourself in a respectable manner too – nobody wants to follow somebody they despise.
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