For those who have read Good to Great by Jim Collins, you know that one characteristic of great companies are that they have great leaders. Not the celebrity leaders - the ones that grace all the magazine covers or are constantly in the spotlight. They have great leaders who often times are unknown to the general public.
If you want to move up the corporate ranks or make your company great, then it's highly necessary to invest in becoming a great leader.
Take inventory of where you are now. Do a 360 assessment of yourself. Then ask yourself - what makes a great leader? What are the characteristics of a business champion leader? Once you know that, take steps to bridge the gap!
If you are serious about this, I highly encourage you to enroll in my Be Fearless 2017 program. It will help you with the self-analysis, uncovering your potential, and give you techniques and steps into becoming the leader your company needs.
So, what makes a great leader? Here are 4 key findings of common traits in great leaders.
1. Great Leaders Are Humble
Great leaders, more often then not, are not the celebrity executives mentioned above. They don't grace the magazine covers, they're often not on media interviews. In fact, the general public is usually completely unaware of them. They accept recognition for their achievements, but they don't actively seek to get that recognition. They're more likely to redirect all praise to the entire team.
What about you? Are you constantly looking to get credit for everything that you contributed to the team? Are you the kind of person who gets involved in a project only if you can get recognition? Are you a "team player"? How much humility do you demonstrate?
2. Great Leaders Are Strong Willed
Don't mistake their humility for a weak backbone. Great leaders have high standards and principles, and they are resolute in maintaining that standard. They don't compromise on these issues. They are willing to make those hard calls, to say no, and to even give up potential clients or profits in order to maintain those standards. Great leaders have a quiet determination to them. They are consistently and persistently maintain high quality and standards. They will not relent. They set the standard for greatness and they will not settle for less. They are willing to sacrifice. They are the ones motivating and encouraging the team to reach those standards.
What about you? Do you do the bare minimum to get by? Or do you seek to meet or exceed those standards? Are you strong willed on principles and standards? Or are you inflexible? There is a difference between being strong willed and inflexible. Identify where you stand on that scale.
3. Great Leaders Take Responsibility
Great leaders look in the mirror when things go bad. They take responsibility when things go wrong. They are the first to step up to the plate and say, "I was the leader, I take responsibility". They don't get involved in the hot potato pass-the-blame game. It's so easy to pass the blame. It's so much easier to see how OTHERS messed up. It takes humility and strength to take responsibility.
What about you? How do you react in moments of crisis? I still remember an experience in which after extensive negotiations, we signed a contract with an international client and discovered that we had signed up for $500,000 of work that somehow was not included in the price. The engineer responsible for that work blamed me as the finance person. The program manager came storming down the hallway and yelled at me for being the cause of the loss - demanding if I was worth half a million dollars. I was in so much shock, all I could think to say was "yes". That shocked the program manager. He left. We eventually got to the bottom of the issue and realized what had happened. The program manager never apologized to me, but he was a close ally for the rest of my time there. He was impressed by my boldness and my willingness to stand by my work.
4. Great Leaders Think of the Company First
Great leaders realize that the company will exist long after they are gone. Their primary focus is to make the company successful. They don't try to make the company brand synonymous with their name. They don't try to become the face of the company. They focus on strengthening the PEOPLE and internal workings of the company. And because they know that people are critical to the company's success, they invest in the personal development of their employees. They actively raise other business leaders. They surround themselves with employees who are smarter, more talented, and have high potential. They are raising the future leaders of the company.
What about you? In whatever position you are, there is a way for you to help strengthen the company. If you are at an entry level, are you documenting work instructions and improving processes at your level? What are you doing to to ensure that the next new-hire will have an easier time transitioning into the job? Get in the habit of doing this and incorporate this habit in every level that you get to. If you are already in management, how are you investing in your employees? Do you know their strengths and weaknesses? Do you provide them with the challenges they need to grow? Are you supporting them through these challenges? Are you investing in their personal and professional growth and development? If you want to be a great leader, put the company first.
One caveat, this does not mean that you put your health in danger. You have to take care of yourself - take your vacation days, enjoy time with your family, disconnect from work every now and then. What great leaders are aware of, though, is that if they use the company as a personal monument to themselves, then that company will only be good as long as they are at the company. If they want the company to be great, they need to put their ego aside and invest in the next generation of leaders.
These principles can be applied across all levels of corporate employees and to business owners. We need to train the next generation of leaders. Start at the school systems, start with your interns, with your lower level employees and move up the ladder. Start with yourself!
Are you ready to get on the path to becoming a great leader? Enroll in my Be Fearless 2017 program. Be prepared to uncovering your potential, step into your greatness and learn the techniques and steps into becoming the leader your company needs.