15 Leadership Lessons (For Unstoppable Growth)
Here are 15 rules of leadership:
01 Guide your path by truth.
Truth is the big equalizer of it all…
It doesn’t care about what you want, the context or someone else’s opinion. The truth is — factual! It’s what the reality of the situation is.
The best leaders root themselves in truth. The moment you start lying “to others” or even worse “to yourself”, you’re no longer on the path to getting what you want, you’re fracturing the foundation of what will get you to where you need to go.
Effort is good, but the effort is never enough!
Always measure by results and data. Data and experimentation empowers teams by shifting the conversation from “I think” to “I know”. Always be aware of the truth. The package that information however you may need, but always know exactly where you stand.
02 Put your mission above your ego.
If you want to be a true leader, the mission needs to be the guiding light of your efforts, not your ego.
Your ego will sacrifice everyone else to give itself what it wants!
Whereas, a leader sacrifices the ego to get everyone what they need. This splits true leaders and pretenders into separate camps. For some people, the company’s mission is just something they have to put on the company’s website — while for others — the mission represents a public contract they make with themselves.
Act accordingly and always play the long game!
03 If you don’t care about your people, they won’t care about your mission.
Ask yourself —
What is your mission?
What is your company’s mission?
What is your employee’s mission?
If these three don’t align, you’re not ready for the next level.
Your title makes you a manager, your people will decide if you’re a leader.
Be very careful at this point in your journey. Fail to abide by rules two and three? — And you’re done! When it comes to leadership, the greatest accomplishments aren’t by the people who do the most, but by the people who do the most for others.
04 Take responsibility for the outcome, not what you wanted to do.
As a leader, you’re responsible for the final results.
What does it say on the scoreboard at the end of the game? Did you win? Results matter! They matter for your credibility.
As a leader —
It’s your fault if your team doesn’t win.
It’s your responsibility to get the morale up before the fight.
It’s under your guidance, training and your vision that they’re going out into the world to win your battles which you can’t win on your own.
If you win, it’s a team effort!
If you lose, you’re the one who failed to get them in a position to win!
Sometimes being right isn’t enough!
05 The best leaders invest in themselves.
Great leaders aren’t born into greatness, they become great. They make it a priority to invest in themselves.
Every great leader we know is a reader. They’re constantly networking and learning from people, they go to events, they speak at events and they learn from those who’ve already done it.
The difference lies in where you choose to spend the money you’re investing in yourself to make sure you get a positive return on your investment or “ROI”.
A wonderful online course is so valuable, it’s like you’re stealing from the teacher. A bad online course is like a teacher stealing from you. Find online courses that teach you skills that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. Investing these dollars will completely transform your life.
06 The leader sets the standard.
The team leader sets the pace, the team leader sets the schedule and the work ethic expected.
You can’t demand more from others than you demand of yourself!
People are willing to work harder when they see their boss working twice as hard as they do. Everyone hates the image of the manager who doesn’t do anything all day but tries to get the credit for any accomplishment.
Don’t be that person!
If you aren’t all in on the mission, how can you expect your team to be? You are never too big to do the small things. As a leader, they can’t see you setting up safety nets for yourself, but not for them. As a leader, they need to see you make the magic happen on their behalf and they’ll believe that magic is real. Until then, it’s all fairy tales and promises.
Source: Sunnie Giles
A study done by Dr. Sunnie Giles of 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations has identified the top 10 competencies of performing leaders which were grouped into five themes.
Out of 74 qualities, these are the ones that rose to the top. You can throw a look on the graph above and see how you would rate your performance on each of them.
07 Make sure everybody on the boat wants to go where you’re heading it.
Sometimes the people who work for you are just there for a paycheck, they have no intention of going to where you want to go.
These people arrived in your boat by circumstance. Maybe they seemed like they were interested in the beginning and now they’re not or maybe you changed course midway.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to figure out who these people are and what are their expectations. Moving forward requires the system to be in sync, all of them paddling at the same time like an optimized Viking ship with you pointing where you need to go.
08 Don’t sacrifice the group to please the individual.
Always look at things objectively!
Sometimes, one rotten apple will ruin the whole bunch. So if there’s a misalignment, don’t be afraid to let go of the ones who don’t see the vision. Search for their values, search for their motivation and whether or not they’re a long-term team player.
Vibing together, laughing together, comfortably making fun of one another — It makes you trust each other. When the moment comes, everyone syncs up and gets the job done working together.
There’s a great quote that goes like this —
An all-star team beats a team of all stars every time!
And we really believe that!
You need to know you can rely on others to do their part, so you can focus on yours. Leadership is making the sum bigger than the individual pieces put together. The team is more valuable than the sum of its parts.
09 Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.
You don’t need to micromanage them. If you do, you’re not doing your job right.
Tell them how to do a job and you get workers.
Trust them that they will get the job done and you get leaders.
Great leadership comes from the right mix of heart and mind. Neither is good enough on its own to earn both trust and respect. Ideally, every member of your team should have autonomy of action in their own activity lane. As long as they understand the vision, they will contribute.
Great team players don’t ask — “How can I help?”, they just help!
This is a great way to find out who the good ones are and which ones aren’t committed to growth. Always reward those who show initiative.
If you’re an employee, figure out on your own how to solve a problem your company is dealing with and then present your solution to the higher ups. If it’s any good, they’ll task you with completing it and that’s how you move up in the world.
10 Upgrade your people and they’ll upgrade your business.
Your business is as valuable as the people you’re able to retain. Great leaders ask themselves — “How can I make things better for those doing the work?”.
Here’s what we’ll tell you when you start working for us —
Make yourself indispensable and there’s no limit to your earning power!
The more valuable your people are, the more value they will generate for the business so there’s always room for growth. Ideally, there should never be a limit on how much an employee can earn as long as they’re bringing in at least twice as much value for the company. You want your people to be smart, you want them to solve complicated problems and you want them to have a portfolio of skills to leverage in order to do so.
Buy your employees courses.
Get them therapy.
A subscription service.
Their growth will force you to step up your game for yourself so everybody wins!
11 Don’t step in with solutions too quickly.
Leaders are like the parental figures of the business world!
Your job is to not solve all problems for your employees, but to raise strong enough ones that are able to figure things out on their own. Your job is to make sure they’re equipped with the tools they need to be able to solve the problem.
Leaders don’t bring out greatness; they recognize it and create an environment where people can do the best work of their lives.
12 Praise in public, criticize in private.
People want to know that you have their back!
We’re all scared of public humiliation. One study shows that people rank public speaking higher than death in the hierarchy of fears. We’re scared of being wrong in public but we take pride in public wins.
So use that to your advantage, make it a habit of highlighting the good work specific members of your team are doing, but if someone is performing poorly or they screwed up, we’re all to blame, and especially “you” for not seeing this coming.
So take this opportunity to coach them in private and they’ll appreciate you for the gesture because it won’t diminish them in the eyes of others.
13 Communicate clearly.
Now here’s one of the big mistakes that we’ve seen company leaders making.
Stop expecting employees to read your mind!
Ask yourself — “Did I explain, educate and mentor this person to follow through on the required action the way I intended it?”. If not, then it’s your fault they didn’t execute it accordingly to your standards as they never knew about the standards in the first place.
Communicating clearly makes your employees feel safe and creates a predictable path to success both for themselves and for the company. A leader reduces the uncertainty for the people around him, having a better understanding of the world they all live in.
14 The leader shapes the future.
Future leaders need to be agile, easily adaptable and comfortable challenging the status quo.
Your people can’t see as many steps ahead as you can, they don’t know what’s up ahead, they don’t have the ability to connect dots into the future like you can. They rely on you to craft that future and then to reveal it to them.
Most employees live in the present, while most leaders are already living in the future. You have the responsibility to create the future in which all of you will live. Don’t take that responsibility lightly.
15 Make things happen.
A great leader has the team focused on the fundamentals.
The wheel keeps on turning while they’re setting up the next play. While your team’s efforts are linear, your efforts are exponential. When that jump hits, the team witnesses your ability to dramatically improve everyone’s odds of success.
That’s how you build trust!
Do what you say you’ll do. You’re responsible for creating the opportunity with the setup of getting the ball to them. And after that, it all boils down to the mastery of the fundamentals on their part. When you do that, you act like an army general that rides out in front of the battalion. You inspire confidence in themselves, in the effectiveness of the mission, in their equipment.
Seeing you do extraordinary things makes them prone to understanding that they have a chance to win too. Your workers should have a bee’s mentality and you — the leader — should have a lion’s mentality. They’re focusing on the day today and you just make sure you take down the big prey so everyone is certain they’ll eat.
There are many more leadership lessons that we’ve learned through our years of entrepreneurship, but we want to learn from you. So we’re asking —
What is one leadership lesson that you’ve learned that has proved valuable in your career and life?
We want all of you readers to search the comments for the most valuable ones and raise them up to the top so everyone benefits from them.
And — of course — you know what’s coming. For those of you always reading our articles until the end, we’ve got a bonus* for you.
- Find happiness in work and then help others do the same.
Here’s the only life hack you need —
Make a list of things that make you happy.
Make a list of things you do every day.
Compare the list.
If you only get one life, you might as well work on the things that make you happy, that give you purpose and fulfillment. We know you entrepreneurs and this is what you’re struggling with right now that “making sure the two lists match up!”
So we urge you to actually put it down in writing and see how you can adjust the list. Once you find the right mix, it’s time to do the same for others for every journey is more enjoyable with great people. As Naval Ravikant puts it —
Play long-term games with long-term people!
Find the right talent.
Bring them together.
Empower the right talent.
Inspire the right talent.
Guide the right talent.
Grow the right talent.
Reward the right talent.
Your job as a leader is to open doors for others who wouldn’t have been able to open them themselves and see if they’re willing to walk through them. That’s how you win long term and we really hope that you do.
CONTRIBUTED BY Entrepreneurs Blog
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Read More: 7 Habits That Build Your Life.