Articles about executive leadership have certainly evolved over the years. Twenty years ago, leaders were considered the “fat cats” at the top of a company. This is the era of the Wolf of Wall Street type leaders. Our view of company leadership and the actions of leadership itself has changed enormously since those years.
Because leadership is so important in the business world, we wanted to take a moment to look at what “leadership” actually means and give you some thoughts on how you can improve your own leadership skills.
What does “Leadership” really mean?
When you look at the term “leadership” itself, you immediately run into difficulty. The dictionary definitions are extremely vague and don’t appear to be written to help an individual understand what their job is as a leader. Here are the best definitions of “leadership” that I could find in a search through several dictionaries:
“1. The qualities and skills of a good leader.
3. The position of being the leader or being in charge of an organization, country, etc.”
The same dictionary defines a “leader” is “someone who is responsible for or in control of a group, organization, country, etc.”
These definitions don’t give one an idea of the full scope of leadership as defined in a company setting. So, we looked through a number of different articles on the subject and found some great quotes and comments that give one a true sense of what being a leader really means:
Leaders are individuals that take charge of a situation when they encounter it. It doesn’t matter if they have been given a title as “team lead” or “CEO” or any other leadership position. As Mark Sanborn said “You don’t need a title to be a leader.”
When it comes to actual leadership, a true leader will inspire those around them to accomplish the purpose he or she has laid out. Bernard Montgomery said it best when he said “Leadership: The capacity and will to rally people to a common purpose together with the character that inspires confidence and trust.”
However, it’s one thing to give great speeches and make employees feel inspired. It’s quite another to actually get things done. So, according to Warren Bennis leadership is also: “the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
While there are many leadership styles, we have found that a true leader is able to utilize the right skills with the right people to get the desired end result. This could be a team lead on a software project completing the project with her team or a CEO that works with an entire staff to attain the company goals each and every day.
Five Ways You Can Improve as a Leader
- Stay upbeat.As a leader, you make all of the hard decisions, and that can weigh on you. However, you are also setting the mood of your group or company. So, work hard to remain positive. Take out time to laugh and find joyful moments throughout the day.
- Surround yourself with great people. Many people say that leadership is a lonely place, but this doesn’t have to be the case. As a leader, you can hire fantastic people and inspire them to produce their best work. By keeping smart, effective, and positive people around you, you will be able to stay inspired and achieve your goals.
- Keep looking forward. It is easy for business owners to get mired down in the daily grind of their work. Take time out every day to set future goals and refresh your ambition to keep your company moving forward.
- Don’t try to do everything at once. One mistake many business owners make as they grow is having their finger in every pie. Often, they know the company better than anyone else, so it can be hard to let go of different aspects of the work. However, to be able to take on a leadership position, one must be able to delegate tasks that distract from leadership responsibilities.
- Celebrate your company’s accomplishments. There is a quote from Arnold Glasow that says “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” This is often what happens in leadership, but it doesn’t have to. You, as a leader, should acknowledge everyone that helped achieve a goal in your company – and that means youneed to be acknowledged as well! So, when your company has achieved a goal, be sure to treat yourself along with all those who helped make your ambition into a reality.
It can be challenging for a leader to effectively and cheerfully guide his or her company toward their ideal situation. Here at the Business Success Consulting Group, we work with company executives and other leaders to help them hone their leadership strategy and hire the best possible people to help them achieve their goals. If you are interested in our executive coaching services, contact us today.