Great Business Leadership is Critical for Your Business Success.
“In transformational times only true leadership ensures business success.”
To find the true DEFINITION of leadership, you should ask: “What makes a leader?”
It is extremely difficult to provide an adequate answer, because the word has such drastically different and heart-felt meanings depending on who you ask. Descriptions abound from noted figures from the political domain, heads of state, leaders of business and industry … everyone seems to have a different opinion as to what makes a GREAT leader.
Margaret Meade alluded to the power of change that a small group of passionate people can achieve when she said: “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
My personal favorite…”A leader knows the way, shows the way, and goes the way.”
Napoleon Bonaparte said: “A leader is a dealer in hope.” In his estimation, leadership could be summed up as providing encouragement to others that you will lead them to the bright future of tomorrow. When you give people HOPE, you have provided them with a very powerful gift that will see you through turbulent times.
Elaine Agather, CEO of Chase Manhattan bank said: “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” In this definition, leadership means having the strength to pursue your goals even through the most challenging of times, while keeping a sense of humor and the ability to hold out hope for the best outcomes.
It was St. Augustine who said: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” Such a definition of leadership touches on the very essence of what a true leader can become.
When you analyze the great contributions of others and try to explain the meaning of great leadership, you come away with the feeling that to be a truly great leader, you MUST inspire others to accomplish great deeds by exhibiting yourself the kind of qualities that you would expect from others. It means consistently striving to achieve greatness by taking risks. The most effective leaders share a common attribute that they have had a “positive” impact on the lives of the people that they came into contact with. It entails nothing less ambitious than touching other people’s lives.
Applying Great Leadership to Business
Most of my small business clients want to know how they can become great leaders. They ask what it takes to successfully lead a business. I explain that there are certain clearly identifiable traits that all great leaders demonstrate. Successful business leadership begins with an inherent desire to follow an ethical code of behavior, doing what you know is right. Entrepreneurs, start-ups and established small business owners are in a unique position. The organizations they are creating can be strongly influenced by their own personal moral compass and belief systems. When you start out as a new business owner, your value system becomes the culture of the organization you are creating.
Unfortunately, we have had MANY examples of what happens when leaders set aside morality in the pursuit of profit, power or act as if they are above ethical behavior. What can be learned about the value of ethics in defining leaders when we look at the behavior and impact that people like Bernie Madoff and the executives at companies like like Enron, Worldcom, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, Lehman Brothers, Halliburton, British Petroleum, Phillip Morris, Global Crossing, Countrywide, Goldman Sachs, Adelphia have had?
These “leaders” stole hundreds of millions of dollars from their businesses, which drove their companies into bankruptcy and harmed their employees and investors. Other organizations like AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, were woefully mismanaged due to a pronounced lack of leadership. Some produce deadly products that kill millions of people every year.
For Starters, Believe in Yourself. You have to have an absolute belief in your abilities which will come in time from achieving success in leading others. Your vision consists in seeing future outcomes before others can. You must gain experience working in and driving Teams comprised of people from different backgrounds who have different values, beliefs, and personalities towards a common set of goals. Start by taking advantage of any and all opportunities to lead Teams either in work settings, volunteer work, PTAs, Girl/Boy Scout clubs, wherever the opportunities arise.
Strive to achieve excellence in everything you do. And with everything you do in business as in life, be passionate. Life is too short to settle on an uninspired existence. Another universal quality shared by all great leaders is a concern for the well-being of those they have led.
Leadership and Management Are NOT The Same.
Management is detrimental; leadership is critical to organizational success. HERE’S WHY…
“Management” (from Old French ménagement “the art of conducting, directing”, from Latin manu agere “to lead by the hand”) characterizes the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible.)
* Possess a VISION
* A person who builds consensus, guides, or inspires others
* The ability to get people to follow willingly
* About behavior first, skills second
* Creates “buy in”
* Generally refers to the position or office of an authority figure
Becoming a Leader Means:
Check Yourself. Who Are You?
Make people want to follow you. A quality of all great leaders is an ability to make others believe you are the right person to guide them. You do that by valuing them, soliciting their ideas and sharing decision-making, encourage them to achieve great results, and always portray an aura of confidence and positivity.
To read more about becoming a GREAT leader, download our e-book on GREAT LEADERSHIP.
Here’s to your leadership success.