When a business isn’t where you would like it to be, it takes strong leadership to turn things around. Even when things are going well, lacking strong leadership can sabotage your success. Strong leadership skills are essential because they are needed to manage employee, customers, etc. and to deliver your vision. From delegation to hiring, you need to have the right people in charge to make the rest of the staff work properly.
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What Makes a Strong Leader?
We would argue that there are four traits that make up a great leader. These are: self-awareness, judgment, confidence, and the ability to connect with people on an emotional level, to understand others’ strengths/weaknesses, and to delegate. We all have these skills to varying degrees, but sometimes our temperament and/or past emotional trauma keep us for taping into its full potential. While the list may differ slightly in terminology, the themes are the same. For more information on developing these skills, Harvard Business Review is a great place to start.
Delegation is key to having the time to be a good leader
Yes, back to delegation once again. Very few people are good leaders when they a stretched too thinly or are overly stressed. It’s important to set aside time so you can practice and develop your leadership skills. If you don’t have time to practice, even the best leaders become rusty.
Valuing diversity in its many forms
This isn’t about hiring based on race, creed, sex, etc. This is about being able to manage and entertain a diversity of thoughts and experience. The best leaders are those who can listen to a wide variety of opinions and build something that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. It can be hard to listen to others who have an opposing view. But, unless the person is being completely dogmatic, there is generally a nugget of insight behind their reasoning. That nugget won’t be uncovered unless you take the time to hear what he or she has to say.
Develop and sustain your brand
Strong leaders stand for something. It’s worth the effort to spend the time uncovering what your core brand should be. This requires that you really know yourself, who you are, and what is most important to you. Whatever that brand is. You need to be able to be consistent with it in both good times and bad. I generally use this rule of thumb. One bad example takes nine good ones to erase it.
Build-up a reservoir of goodwill
Look, we all have bad days. Doing small, goodwill gestures from simple compliments to giving ample praise whenever a job is well done can work wonders. This also ties into delegation, with making sure that your employees fell they’re being treated right. If you can make add this simple element to your daily routine, you will be pleasantly surprised by the return you will receive. A reservoir of goodwill is always important because there will be times when you will need to draw on that goodwill to get through some tough patches. If you don’t make daily deposits, the goodwill check will eventually bounce.
Strong Leadership Requires a Smart Leader
Self-awareness, judgment, confidence, and the ability to connect with people on an emotional level, to understand others’ strengths/weaknesses, and to delegate are the key behaviors of great leaders. These can be strengthened by delegation, so you have time to focus on practicing and developing them. Valuing diversity of opinion and experience can help you build a better vision. Developing your own brand can help clarify your values and vision. Finally, building up a reservoir of goodwill can help you manage through the tough times. Being a good leader isn’t easy. We all need to practice it daily. But, if you do, you will have the strong leadership needed to turn a business around or keep a business running smoothly.
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