Everybody has a view on what leadership is and there is no definitive skill set that explains what makes a good or bad leader. The type of leader you are will vary from one scenario to the next, and the really good leader is always seeking ways to grow and improve. While there is a vast amount of research on what behaviours are present in the really good leaders, I recently came across an article that provides five very clear pieces of advice on leadership gathered from over 100 of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. What I particularly like about Kate White’s article on Learning Leadership is that it covers five best practices that can be adapted to any progressive leadership style.
The five gems on leadership are:
1. Hire people smarter than you
Employing people to fill roles you are not confident in or don’t like doing will not only improve productivity, but it will increase your enjoyment in the work you do and you will be seen as a dynamic leader (which is a great thing!). This will allow you to continue focusing on engaging and motivating your team to achieve the vision and the strategy.
2. Trust them to execute their roles
As a leader you need to give your people the opportunity to succeed on their own. Give them the context and tools to succeed and then get out of their way. Allow them some freedom around what their role is and the part they play in achieving the strategic objectives. I coach my client’s that “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”. Encouraging this mentality among your people will give them a sense of empowerment and keep them coming back for more.
3. Lead from the front
As a leader it is important to lead by example and role model your belief in the company’s vision, values (read behaviours) and strategy. In my previous blog post Are you contagious?, I reinforced my strong belief that leaders set the tone of the organisation and must behave as they expect those within the business to behave. The leader needs to create a cooperative, empowering environment where team members can grow, feel valued and make a difference.
4. Be visible
Get out and get around. Don’t be that leader who hides in their office and only communicates with their team via email. Get out there and talk to people every day. It will have a positive influence on the engagement, morale and productivity of your team if you show a genuine interest in them and the work they are doing.
5. Say yes
Learn to say yes. If you are a leader who is always saying no, it is going to be a very frustrating place to work. Great leaders find ways of saying ‘yes’ and foster a culture where ‘yes’ is viewed as an opportunity rather than a weakness. By saying yes you are encouraging your people to think outside the box.