Many people get promoted into positions of leadership. Not every so-called “leader” has great leadership skills, or even understands the concept of leadership! These abridged points set true leaders apart from those who simply fill a chair in the office.
You’ve heard of The Sally Principle, right? This office truism states that a person will be promoted to their highest level of incompetence. Don’t be Sally! (Unless your name really is Sally, and if so, I am sorry for this reference).
Many organisations continually promote people without providing any training or development to help them be successful. Most leaders are expected to make it on their own! Some will make it. Others will stall out; either producing lacklustre results over time, or eventually will have to be let go due to poor performance.
You don’t want this to happen to you, do you? You need great leadership skills.
How to avoid becoming a victim of The Sally Principle
Control your attitude. A leader will most CERTAINLY fail if that person cannot learn to control their Attitude! Leaders can’t be moody. Can’t have wild mood swings on a whim. People need to be able to count on you. Need to know you. Need to be able to predict how you’ll react.Leaders need to be even-tempered. Learn to evaluate first. React second. People are drawn to positive thinkers.
First, try to determine what your flash points are. Second, try to catch yourself before you react. Third, try to find a positive point that can be leveraged out of the situation that is upsetting you.
Improve people skills. Become the type of person that everyone likes to be around. Confident, not arrogant. Focused on others, not focused on yourself.
Learn how to make other people feel important. Learn what is important to other people. Learn about personality types. Learn about their needs. Treat other with respect. Basically, everything your mother told you about being nice to others!
Build relationships. Leadership is something that happens between people. Once you know great leadership skills, you will know how to make people feel important. Once you can get people to like you. Then you want to focus on relationships. Relationships are based on trust. Can they trust you? Can you trust them?
There has to be some benefit to both people for a good relationship to exist and continue. Nurture relationships. You can’t just leave them. You have to work at relationships. Relationships are built by repetition.
Know your business. You need to know about systems in your business. Know where the money comes from and where it goes. Know how much money is flowing through your business. Even if you’re a non-profit, cashflow is still important to your organisation. You should know the people in your organisation. Know what they do. Know how they fit into the overall picture. You should know why your business is structured the way it is. Know the business model. Your customers. Basically, know everything about your business, up and down, side to side.
Apply real leadership. Do the things that leaders do. Share your vision. Share your beliefs. Inspire people. Tell your story. Set the goals and enable people to go after them.
What If You Don’t Know How Leaders Do Any of This?
Read about great leadership skills. Read some books. Read books on Leadership. Listen. Listen to recordings. We have decades of books and audio recordings of speeches on leadership. There’s no reason anyone can’t learn what leaders do. Start by studying leadership. Study leaders. Ask questions. Become a student of leadership.
It’s not enough to know about leadership and how to be a leader. You need to practice leadership, too. You need to immerse yourself in leadership. Set goals and try to hit them. Push yourself. Work with others on your team to achieve those goals. Build a team, if you don’t have one.
Growth. Leaders should be growing. Leaders should be experiencing new opportunities and challenges. Learning how to apply your expertise to new situations and multiple situations will help you grow as a leader. The biggest shortcoming of leaders in today’s environment, according to multiple studies, is not being able to lead through new, ambiguous, or changing situations.
Results. Leaders get results. Start looking for ways to achieve. Look for small results at first. Document results and share them with others. Make goals to get results. Craft your goals to lead to results.
Career Enhancement. You may wonder how to get practice being a leader. Especially if you don’t have the position. There are other ways to gain leadership. Education is only 10% of learning to be a leader.
Exposure makes up 20% of leadership learning. Exposure is how frequently others in your organisation can see you working on high-profile projects. Experience makes up 70% of what you learn about leadership.
Why should you care about Leadership?
Leaders get teams working together toward common goals. Teamwork leads to greater productivity. Greater productivity generates greater operational efficiency. Greater operational efficiency reduces margin. Reduced margin increases profit!
Innovate or die! Your organisation must constantly innovate its products or its service to stay relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace. Leaders welcome innovation. Leaders foster innovation. Leaders create innovation. Leaders cast the vision to see the future to create tomorrow’s solutions today, because new or improved products and services increase sales. New or improved products and services can open new markets and market segments, along with great leadership skills.
If your senior leadership disappeared today, do you have leaders ready to step in and take over? A high percentage of companies around the world are not so lucky. One reason Baby Boomers are not retiring as expected is because no one is ready to lead! If no one is ready to lead your organisation, there’s little chance it will survive for long. All that hard work to build the organisation up will come to nothing. Are you promotable?
Recognition and respect. These terms carry a lot of importance for us. They motivate us. Ongoing leadership for the long-term builds recognition and respect for the founder of a company, long after the founder is gone. More than money. More than fame. Legacy! Immortality!
Summary: great leadership skills matter
The above great leadership skills and leadership techniques will dramatically increase the quality of your leadership, as well as your managers, directors and executives, and they will cause even the newest employees to view you as a trusted advocate.