Being a successful leader, is about so much more than just gaining the title. Just because you are a manager or “the boss” does not mean that you are a success. Being a success means that your leadership is effective. Successful leaders are the driving force behind their company success. They rally the troops and drive the organization on to the next level. Sometimes these effective leaders can make it all look so easy and natural, but the truth is, you can learn these skills.
Self-discipline is key
Let’s start simply, if you can’t get yourself up for work on time or prioritise your own work to make sure it is all completed, how are you going to help or inspire others to do this effectively? Great leaders are self-motivated and driven. They are responsible and do not need guidance or support, as they manage themselves. They work out how to do things themselves in the most effective way and then share this knowledge with their team.
They also understand how to set clear goals and act with purpose to achieve them. There is a self confidence that comes from delivering the objectives and a self confidence that comes with achievement. People are naturally drawn to someone who has achieved results and inspires others that they can also get there. There are going to be tough times, but only the best leaders have the self-discipline to keep going when others would quit.
Take ownership and create a safe environment
A successful leader understands that they are accountable for both the good and the bad. They take the praise for the successes and also accept the learnings from the losses. They also delegate and expect this same ownership from others. Its fine for someone to make a mistake, but that doesn’t result in the person being punished or blamed. A leader that creates a blame culture will kill new ideas and innovation which in turn hurts productivity and performance.
Strong leaders understand that a team wins and loses together. A team members mistake is the managers mistake. But they understand that failure is a necessary component of success. You shouldn’t play it safe and try not to make a mistake. After all, whatever you try for the first time, its highly likely you will fail. But that is no reason to stop or even worse, not try at all. A leader should provide their team with the support to navigate this failure, learn from it, adapt their approach and get to the end goal. After all, a leader is only as good as the people around them, and its their job to help them grow and develop.
Have a vision and communicate it effectively
Finally, if people are going to follow a leader, they need somewhere to follow them to. Successful leaders have the ability to look at where their team or business is and paint a very clear picture of where it needs to get to and by when. Think about the famous JFK Speech where he says they will go to the moon within a decade. NASA genuinely had no idea how to make that a reality in the given timeframe. But he painted a picture that inspired the team to deliver and they did it in 7 years not 10.