A great business leader sets ambitious goals and consistently grows their bottom line. To do this successfully, it’s imperative that they engage the rest of the business in their vision. However, before a leader can engage an entire business, they have to demonstrate that they’re worthy of the following.
Below we look at five rather unconventional questions that leaders should ask themselves, before they can expect their teams to get behind them and achieve ambitious targets.
As they say – “Your best friend and your worst enemy stare back at you from the mirror”. By far and wide the most important person for you to manage is yourself. Before you can begin to manage others effectively, you need to ensure that you have control of yourself. Don’t take your own word for it either, ask people you trust to give genuine feedback on your behaviours, actions and perceived values. If there’s no-one you trust enough to ask, get an executive coach. Often the only thing standing in the way of you being a great leader is you.
If you are, then you’re being a lazy leader. Effective leadership involves stepping out of your comfort zone and facing uncertainty head on. This should NOT be comfortable. It means taking calculated risks but more than that, it means having the courage, conviction and perseverance to follow these risks through. As the saying goes – “Great achievements involve great risk”.
Successful leaders really know how to listen. And listening properly involves more than just the spoken word. Body language and the underlying reasons behind a conversation are just as important as the words being spoken. Listening isn’t always easy, especially when it’s negative feedback we’re hearing. However, negative feedback is surprisingly effective at helping us to grow. A good leader knows when to stop talking, listens to all those around him, and only then makes a decision.
Okay, we’re not recommending that you reward performance with a bouquet of seasonal flowers each time it occurs, but it is hugely beneficial to show gratitude regularly. It’s important that you target your thanks towards the specific positive act so your gratitude reinforces the desirable behaviour. In this digital age of email, texts and social media, the positive effect of a hand written card or small bunch of flowers can have a surprising impact.
Successful leaders know their people inside out, and this includes personality traits which only become apparent outside the business environment. When you know the personalities of your people you can more effectively communicate with them and motivate them to perform. When you understand exactly what makes your people tick, you will be in a far better position to support them in overcoming their challenges and bring out the best in them.
Good leadership relies on attitudinal qualities, rather than management processes. Asking yourself these questions will help you understand if you’re demonstrating the characteristics that will engage an entire business, to strive for ambitious targets.
Honest and courageous leaders consistently achieve high performance teams in their business.