Leading The Way
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower
Many small entrepreneurs start their businesses as ‘one-man’ shops, taking on the responsibility for all the tasks required to keep the operation running. They are receptionists, product developers, accountants, marketers, deliverymen, and janitors all rolled into one.
Once the inevitable burn-out of trying to fulfill all these roles sets in, it gradually dawns on the entrepreneur that other people will need to be hired or contracted to carry out these services. As the organization grows, the business owner will need to take on a challenging new role – that of leader.
Just like any other job function, learning how to become an excellent leader will take both book knowledge and experience by trial and error.
Leadership expert, John Maxwell, has many great resources to help you become better at managing people. Two of my recommended picks are The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, and Developing the Leader Within You.
After working in different companies over the years, I have seen the differences between good and ineffective leaders. I can now appreciate how important it is to portray the right leadership qualities in order to realise my business dreams. Here are six things that you need to be successful in leading the way:
Great leaders need to be very clear about the vision and mission of their organizations, in order to inspire others to buy into their plans. If the leader lacks a clear set of set of goals and objectives, and the imagination and insight to turn the dream into reality, then the organization will not be successful.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” – Proverbs 29:18.
It’s crucial for you to be knowledgeable about your field, and to demonstrate your abilities to your workers. More importantly, you must know your shortcomings and get assistance in these areas, instead of pretending to know-it-all. The best leaders are ones that can effectively delegate details to capable persons.
A firm and unwavering belief in your ability to lead your team is vital, as no one wants a leader with low self-esteem issues. John Maxwell says that the greatest liability of a leader is his insecurity. Many bosses have made big mistakes and lost the support of their workers because they lacked confidence in themselves.
As Erich Fromm points out, “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” Good leaders must be excited about embracing the unknown to create a new future for their businesses, and be willing to accept responsibility for the decisions made, whether wrong or right. Business owners who persevere despite the challenges, and fight their own fears to guide their teams through difficult times, will inspire loyalty and respect.
Effective leadership requires the respect of your workers. You have to cultivate personality traits such as sympathy, loyalty, understanding, fairness, humility, and the willingness to lead by example. People might obey you out of fear of losing their jobs, but you will never get the performance necessary from them to help your business grow.
Some leaders try to lead by force, but to be truly successful you must have the consent and desire of your followers. An effective leader should help to increase the efficiency of others by encouraging them, not bullying them into action.
The leader must live by the mantra “TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More.”
(c) Cherryl Hanson Simpson
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