I caught up yesterday with seven people who invest a great deal of time working with business leaders from all walks of life to find out their most important leadership strategy. And…I added one to make for a list of 9.
Thank-you all for such great contributions!
1. Become Problem Solvers…Not Complainers!
I’ve had a basic rule that has worked well for me over these many years.
I encourage people to become problem-solvers instead of complainers. I tell them that if they are going to come to me with a problem, they can only do so once they have also thought of a potential solution. It makes them less dependent on me and provides a team of innovators.
2. Get Back to the Basics by Truly Listening
I find that my top used leadership strategy goes back to the basics as it appears so many of us still need that reflection. Listening skills are pinnacle to solid, performance leadership. All too often we still think that leadership is dictating direction, strategy, and process; when indeed top leaders have found that communicating an idea and/or strategic direction and then skillfully listening to those who are expected to carry such out – only providing guidance when needed, empowers everyone to get onboard to the fullest and be their most creative. Leaders who get out of the way, playing more of a guide and referee role than a ‘point-man’ tend to find themselves on top of the most supportive and best-in-class organizations. It requires more listening than talking, and those top leaders know this and do so well.
3. Openly Share Recognition
My top leadership strategy is verbally, consistently and openly sharing recognition with the people I work with. I acknowledge others’ contributions and validate them – their feelings, struggles and challenges. I find that it opens a channel of communication that allows us to make good decisions by increasing our collective IQ. It also works really well between business partners which is my area of expertise and niche market.
4. Become Flexible in Your Leadership Style
A good leader realizes that s/he can’t effectively lead everyone in the same way or with the same strategies. Using a tool, such as the DiSC® Personal Profile System, helps leaders to understand themselves and the people they lead. By learning and becoming flexible in his/her leadership style leaders will become far more effective. Luckily, behavior is observable and once you know what to look for it’s quite easy to get a clear picture of people.
5. Embrace Change
One of the top leadership qualities for me is to be able to keep up with change in the business climate. I know we don’t know when the winds of change are going to happen but to be open to it and embrace it rather than deny change will occur for me is a top leadership quality.
6. Leave Your Own Filters at the Door
Whether I’m at home conversing with family and friends or with clients, I consciously leave my own filters at the door because I realize we all have different life experiences, personalities, preferences, and behavioral styles. This process has been a powerful experience for all involved. Learning always takes place with all of the parties involved.
7. Create Your Desired Future
If it is to be, it is up to me. In other words, when life gives me lemonade, I look for ways to create my desired future. I focus on the future I want to create, not the current reality that I don’t like. This involves hyper-discipline and monitoring of mind and negative self-talk. I once had a teacher who warned against being sucked into negative mass consciousness and hysteria. Just because something is happening to 6 out of 10 or 8 out of 10 people, in no way means it will happen to me. So I lead with an eye on the future, looking for innovative ways to create the reality I seek. And I look for positive signs and use negative signs as feedback to adjust my approach. Finally, I am a social constructionist. That means that I know that I create my reality through conversations with others. Therefore, I am mindful that each and every conversation is an opportunity to create either a positive or negative reality.
8. Lead By Example
The best part of being a Leader is leading by example. The more time I can spend in my own personal develpment, the better leader I am. The more that I can BE the Leader that I want to be…the more I lead by example. The more that I can be in integrity with myself and my business…the more I am the Leader my team deserves. The clearer my focus of who I a want to be and where I am going…the clearer I can be with my team. I, then, can be the Leader that my team will choose to take by the hand and follow.
9. Map Out a Strategic Plan for Managing Your Critical Relationships
I work with leaders every day, and most have a great strategic plan for their company. They can nail a marketing plan, business proposal or mission statement. Yet when I ask about their strategic plan for building relationships with their team and key stakeholders, I often get a blank stare, as if the question is “What do you mean?”
If you are a leader, one of your main objectives should be to build strong interpersonal relationships with the people in your life, and each person is going to have different needs, desires and expectations. Get to know each person who is on your core team, and spend time mapping out a process for getting to know them better. This plan may include a lunch out one time each month, a game of racketball or golf or an impromptu chat about the latest events in your community. By actually taking the time to consider how to build out each relationship in your life and business, you will be much more effective as a leader, spouse, parent and community volunteer.
What is your top leadership strategy? We would love to hear from you, so please drop a comment below!.