If you ever doubt the power of leadership, take a look at the organizations around you—those that are successful and those that are failing (or have failed). Sometimes external forces are a factor, but more often than not some aspect of leadership is at the core of the company’s outcome.
The choices you make every day as a leader have an enormous effect on the fate of your company—and those who work for the company, and those it serves. Here’s a guide that can help you look at the choices you’re making now and the ones you’ll face in the future:
Choices that build great companies
1. Lead from within. I believe in this principle so much that I chose it as the name of my consulting company. In my 30 years of working with executives and leaders, it’s still the most important message I convey. People take cues from the leader, so make sure your leadership is centered in clear purpose and integrity and that you’re setting an example you want others to emulate. Every leader must first learn to be great within.
2. Create a compelling vision. Great companies have leaders who know where the company is going, communicate a compelling vision and meaningful direction, and allow others to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.
3. Identify a clear plan and achievable goals. Have a strategic plan that will guide growth and show where, how and what the company is planning to accomplish. Then translate that strategic plan into action by setting goals that are clear, achievable and measurable. A plan without a goals is just a dream.
4. Encourage team empowerment. People want to be part of an empowered team; when leaders are aligned with each other and communicate well, people get on board and want to succeed. Great leaders provide a strategic framework, set the goals and make sure resources are available, then allow their teams to engineer their own success. When people feel they own their work, they take it seriously, because their work becomes a reflection of themselves.
5. Put your heart and soul into it. Leaders are great not because of their power, but because of their ability to inspire, and the best leaders know that building a great company isn’t just what you accomplish but what you enable others to accomplish. Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader, they set out to make a difference.
Choices that destroy great companies
1. Don’t communicate. When you withhold information, you’re basically telling your team that you don’t think they’re capable of handling the truth. Always communicate openly and honestly. Your people are with you, so allow them to be part of the conversation.
2. Be untrusting and untrustworthy. The lack of trust—in both directions —can quickly doom any relationship or enterprise to failure. When you fail to trust your team, and you fail to show them you can be trusted, you create a maor obstacle.
3. Display disrespect. Like trust, respect is a two-way street. Many leaders who focus on being respected fail to see the need to earn that respect or to show respect to others. Respect is the most important thing you can give your team—every member, in every role, from the top of the org chart to the bottom.
4. Allow expectations to remain undefined. Great companies are defined by each person’s understanding of their role and their place in the big picture. People want to know what they’re responsible for and how they’re being evaluated. If your company’s culture fails to reward success or even define it clearly, people will focus less on how to get things done and worry more about what to do.
5. Hinder autonomy. Great employees won’t stay where they aren’t free to express, excel and engage. People need to be free in order to create, innovate and grow.
LEAD FROM WITHIN: Wherever it stands now, your organization can be built up or destroyed—and it starts with you. Everything that is happening within has a way of reflecting to the outside.
Check out my new book:
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- The Test Every Great Leader Must Pass
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- Leadership: Claim Your Calling
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- To Trust Means To Be Careless
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.