Monday, February 8, 2021

6 Essential Leadership Lessons Learned from Experience



There’s an age old debate about whether or not leaders can be made, or if you have to be born that way.  Nevertheless, every year, countless professionals of all experience levels and all walks of life decide to invest in themselves to hopefully become the next great leader.

There are a plethora of degrees, certificates, specializations, seminars and other educational means available to learners today. In my experience working with business leaders, I have found no magic formula or recipe to get you there, but there are some key leadership lessons that anyone can learn from, including the following:

1. Become an ardent student of leadership.

Leaders study the successes of peers and seek to emulate them. They reach to find mentors who have been there, read books on the subject, and participate in leadership development programs. Leadership requires focus and effort and doesn’t happen by title.

2. Set personal leadership goals and solicit feedback.

Business leadership requires spending more time working on the business, and less time working in the business. You can measure these activities yourself and get validation from your team. How much of your time is spent on futures, strategizing and coaching versus fixing daily crises?

3. Tackle new challenges outside your comfort zone.

If you never push your limits and never fail, you never learn new capabilities. As a new entrepreneur, perhaps you have no experience with hiring and delegating, yet these skills are not rocket science. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from more experienced peers and human resources experts.

4. Celebrate small successes and learn from failures.

People who demand perfection from themselves are rarely good leaders. Learn to celebrate small steps in the right direction and failures that are a source of real insight. Be humble and transparent in involving your team and even your customers in your successes and your mistakes.

5. Demand strong performance and deal quickly with mediocrity.

Recognized business leaders are known for their expectation of excellence from their team -- and from themselves. They do not tolerate mediocrity around them, which keeps their teams highly motivated and proud to be associated with the leader as a role model.

6. Work on improving your communication skills.

Effective leadership requires effective communication, including verbal, written and body-language. Your team, customers and partners need to understand your vision, goals and what is expected of them before they decide to follow you. Great leaders also practice active listening and full attention.

As you continue to plot your leadership journey, consider the important role these six lessons play in achieving sustainable success and significance.  Leadership is defined by these experiences and so is the one who has the courage to put themselves into as many unique and challenging circumstances as they can. The wisdom and insights you gain from these lessons will better enable you to influence outcomes and add real value to an organization.



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3 comments:

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  2. These are great lessons; I particularly agree with effective communication. I believe this skill is key to developing good business practices. Nowadays people don’t take the time to listen carefully or express an idea fully. Also, our attention span has decreased, and we tend to rely on quick forms of communication. I encourage people to take the time and give full attention to the person or group that is in front of them and engage with them throughout the conversation, to ask for feedback. Sometimes they will provide valuable insights. After all, these are the people performing the job we assigned them to attain the goals we have set for them.
    Another lesson for leaders that I consider important is setting clear goals and setting the strategies to achieve them. Many “leaders” think it is appropriate to express their expectations without a specific plan of “how to”. Instead they opt to motivate people by buzzwords and “you can do it” speeches. From an employee’s perspective it is tiresome trying to define the purpose of one’s job in relation with the company’s goals. It kills motivation, efficiency and lowers employee’s dedication.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are great lessons; I particularly agree with effective communication. I believe this skill is key to developing good business practices. Nowadays people don’t take the time to listen carefully or express an idea fully. Also, our attention span has decreased, and we tend to rely on quick forms of communication. I encourage people to take the time and give full attention to the person or group that is in front of them and engage with them throughout the conversation, to ask for feedback. Sometimes they will provide valuable insights. After all, these are the people performing the job we assigned them to attain the goals we have set for them.
    Another lesson for leaders that I consider important is setting clear goals and setting the strategies to achieve them. Many “leaders” think it is appropriate to express their expectations without a specific plan of “how to”. Instead they opt to motivate people by buzzwords and “you can do it” speeches. From an employee’s perspective it is tiresome trying to define the purpose of one’s job in relation with the company’s goals. It kills motivation, efficiency and lowers employee’s dedication.

    ReplyDelete