The Secrets of Leadership Success

Working with clients, listening to podcasts and reading newsletters, I have noticed that people are sometimes looking for the magic potion that will transform their results.


Sadly (or realistically), like everything in life, few things are down to some magic solution.


While there may be no magic solution or single thing that you can do to transform things, I believe that there are some things which you can do to create better results.


Know where you are starting from

Before you can start to move in a different direction, you need to get clarity on where you are starting from.  At the most basic level, this is about 3 key questions:


What you do well

What you don’t do so well

What needs developing


People often worry that asking these questions will somehow expose them.  Truth is it will give you some great insights.


Admit what you don’t know


You might well know everything within your field of expertise or function.  On the other hand, what do you know about the wider organisational context, the external pressures and the demands put on the most senior people?  Shadowing the more senior people is often a really quick, and sadly underutilised, way of getting some real insight.


Remember that leadership is much more than know how


It might come as a real surprise to you but in truth, the more senior you become, the less knowledge matters and the more emotional competence becomes important.  Some would say that as much as 90% of the difference between effective and less effective leadership is down to differences in emotional competence rather than how smart they are.


Develop a learning mindset


We all (me included) have things that we can learn.  Too often in my experience people forget this and, when this happens, they start to become complacent.  When complacency sets in, people stop challenging themselves and challenging others.  The result is almost inevitably stagnation or, even worse, deterioration in performance.  If you don’t want to stagnate or go backwards, develop a learning mindset.


Determine your purpose


Many organisations set out a clear purpose for the entity.  As a leader, what is your purpose?  If you are clear about what it is you want to achieve, the easier it becomes to make choices about where you invest your time, what values you stand by and what you want to have a reputation for.


Stand up and be counted


This is a big one and part of the reason why I have chosen it as my final success tip in this article.  Being a leader is challenging and sometimes can be a hugely lonely place.  In the face of these challenges, it is easy to compromise, put off the difficult decisions and not have the courage to say what needs to be said.  If you notice that you are starting to put personal survival ahead of making the difficult calls, then be ready to act on this.


The Bottom Line


Truth is that success as a leader is as much about who you are, what you stand for, knowing insight and emotional competency as it is about what you do.  So what do you need to start paying attention to in order to achieve more success?


Duncan Brodie helps accountants and other business professionals to successfully transition from technical expert to great leader.  Sign up for his free audio e-course here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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