Leadership is one of those odd areas. Unlike the detailed technical and professional work that many of my clients undertake, it can appear really simple. Yet the reality is very different.
So I was thinking about my take on leadership and what I have learned and discovered personally through my own experiences and those of my clients. Here is my top 25 and I would love you to share your experiences too.
- It is not always the smartest people who progress to the more senior roles. The reason being is that your success at a more senior level is as much about you as an individual as it is your knowledge.
- Knowledge is just one dimension in being a successful leader. Interpersonal, or what are sometimes oddly referred to as ‘softer skills’, really count.
- If you cannot get along with people it is always going to be a struggle. The idea that you can do it all by yourself is a complete myth.
- You have to take action. Ideas are great and creativity is marvellous but it is action that translates ideas into results.
- Good leaders make plenty of mistakes. No-one is perfect and we all make mistakes. The key is to learn from them.
- Breakthroughs do not happen without balanced risk taking. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that taking risks is a bad thing. On the other hand, balanced risk taking is essential if you are ever going to make any kind of breakthrough.
- Leadership success is a marathon not a sprint. Forget the idea that you become an overnight success. It takes time, effort and commitment.
- Anyone can find fault. At the same time not everyone can find solutions or spot the opportunities.
- Simple things can often yield the biggest impact. It is easy to get obsessed with the next big thing but often it is the small changes that make the difference.
- Being a leader is a longer term project, not task and finish.
- A great team is essential, otherwise you are always going to shoot below your potential.
- Leaders need a support network as being at the top can be a lonely existence.
- Taking responsibility is essential rather being optional.
- Look for the good in everyone as no one turns up intending to do a mediocre or poor job.
- There will always be difficult challenges and it is how you respond that matters.
- Sacrifices are part and parcel of your success in your career. You need to be willing to make the sacrifices.
- Time is your ultimate limiting factor so you need to invest it wisely.
- Praise people for what they contribute as it is a powerful motivator.
- We never stop learning. There are always going to be new challenges, obstacles and barriers to address.
- See challenges not as problem but an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Communication skills are important, especially listening skills. The best leaders in my experience are exceptional listeners.
- Play to your personal strengths as much as you can rather than trying to master what you are no good or not so good at.
- Don’t let your personal agenda become more important than results and people.
- People are your real assets even if they are shown as an expense in the profit and loss account.
- Persistence through good and not so good times really counts. Anyone can thrive in the good times.
So what else would you add to the list?
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd helps professional people become great leaders . Sign up for his free 6 part audio e-course .