Leadership is everywhere.
Amazing leaders write me all the time with their success stories, tips, and journeys. Since I love to add value to my readers and the community, I thought I’d turn some of these messages into a piece about true leadership, and what matters to those who are practicing what they preach every day. Here are some of my favorite and most useful lessons from leaders across an array of professions.
1. Take more risks
“A good leader is one who is willing to jump in the arena against all the odds. One who will strive fearlessly and fall short again and again but will not give up. A good leader is a risk-taker. He will welcome change as if it were his second nature. He will rise above the cynics and critics who only know how to put people down. Who at best will reap great rewards of his enthusiastic devotion and if he fails at least he fails a hero who has garnered enough knowledge for his next conquest. His place shall never be those faint-hearted folks who neither know triumph nor downfall.”
2. Be a Visionary
A great leader communicates their vision articulately to his or her employees while setting milestones which he or she works on with their team leading to the actualization of the vision. By showing humility, exhibiting confidence without appearing cocky, being kind, and remaining realistic, a leader forges a path to the envisioned destination and doesn’t give up fast despite the challenges on the way. Employees draw inspiration from such trustworthy leaders who encourage and inspire them, and they work hard towards the common goal. Exemplary leadership means taking the heat for the team. Great leadership means guiding and correcting in a non-controlling and a non-domineering tone. Despite being the boss, a great leader serves with his or her subordinates to achieve the predetermined goals. Great leaders walk the talk.
3. Embrace Grit and Inspiration
“The ability to successfully get through business and personal obstacles in life and business makes the best leaders. Successful presidents, CEOs, principals, managers or teachers have grit used their grit to push through the sand in their eyes. These are the leaders who have been able to persist through their setbacks with a strong commitment to their goals.
Grit inspires your subordinates to achieve greatness. A great leader may not know it but, the admiration and respect held for them become a source of inspiration. Success stories make others yearn for greatness. A gritty individual visualizes their long term goal in good and bad. That focus directs them and indirectly inspires employees to forge forward.”
4. Audit your Attitude towards Work
Understanding the organization to the degree where you are able to grasp and appreciate the individual elements of your company and their importance to the business, is an attribute that all great leaders have. This is especially difficult but important in the automotive industry, with so many moving parts and sections. From marketing, finance, and dealerships, to engineering and production. Having this understanding and being able to display it creates an atmosphere of trust and a homogenous vision that employees, colleagues and, to a certain extent, customers, buy into. This is even true to the point of getting stuck into smaller projects to add a personal touch and really inspire as you lead.”
5. Be Strong and Realistic
“Any great leader understands that they will only lead and have followers if they are strong. People heed to strong leaders. A team needs to know that their leader is in a position to make the most difficult decisions while watching over the great good for the entire group. Strength is demonstrated in the face of adversity by the greatest leaders without an inkling towards taking control or having a domineering effect. To demonstrate the strength, great leaders are confident in their decisions but still maintain a realistic approach towards daily challenges. A strong and a realistic leader knows when to go after an opportunity and when to let it go for the benefit of the team. ”
6. Take pleasure in the journey
“The beauty of achieving success is the path you took to reach where you are. As a leader, everyone looks upon you to shape the mission. It’s up to you to decide whether you’ll steal and kill to reach the top or whether you’ll work smart. Let the path you choose be as rewarding as the destination. The process of achieving a goal should be one that ultimately culminates in self-growth. It should allow you to discover new things about you and show you your real potential. These are rewards in and of themselves. A wise leader knows how to celebrate the journey as much as the end results.”
7. Focus on the essentials
“Highly effective leaders stick to their area of expertise. That is, on the stuff they know well and do best. These are high impact activities that will ultimately advance their life’s work. In doing so, they can ward off distractions that tend to fight for their attention. They delegate what they know not to those best suited to handle them. Concentrating on your point of brilliance will give you more time to devote to the things that have the power to change lives if not the world. You will leave the legacy you are destined to leave. ”
10. Invest in Family
“Great leaders are keen on closing as many deals as possible. Closing sales and running businesses mean staying on top of things, reassessing budgets, mentoring employees, and attending to clients. Unfortunately, this translates to long working hours.
However, great leaders do things differently, despite the pile on their desks, they leave the office in time and go out to their families.
Your ability to show your employees the importance of a work-life balance creates a culture based on better time management. You must emphasize the importance of taking breaks and putting family first. For every great leader, lost deals can be replaced by bigger opportunities, but family and friends are irreplaceable. To great leaders, investing in the family is all that matters.”
11. Be cautious
As a leader, you are responsible for more than just your own interests. You literally have people’s fates in your hands. As such every decision make should always reflect this; you cannot afford to be reckless. This sort of caution does not seem valiant of course. It will be misconstrued like the spineless prudence of a cowardly leader. The world has already been fooled to believe that anyone who is ready to risk great failure and bounce back from tragedy is a certified hero. But in this, they got it wrong. There are more bravery and valor in defying the human itch to act frantically with no regard for consequences. A good leader is one who takes painful steps to prepare for the unimaginable. A good leader is forever cautious.
12. Inspire do not impose
Leadership does not fail or succeed on the strength of its ability to change its subordinates’ views to become the same as the leader’s. Well, at least not the kind that deserves to be called good leadership. It fails or succeeds on the strength of its ability to engage with its subordinates, to make them think, to give them a glimpse into the leader’s point of view without necessarily shoving it down their throat. In the end, if the subordinates’do not agree with the leader’s opinions, they should feel comfortable to voice out their displeasure with no fear of reproach. A good leader is patient and willing to listen and inspire his or her subordinates rather than inflict his or her views on others.
13. Love your work
“Work and play are inseparable to a leader. I have learned that to succeed as a leader; you should utterly fall in love with your cause. It will be like playing a game of chess- where your mind is stimulated to think but at the same time you are enjoying yourself. The moment you stop viewing your work as a burden or a means to make a living that is the moment you will start to see great results. Within no time you will see the same kind of love for work within your team.”