The Basic Rules Of Successful Leadership
To be a successful leader a number of key rules and principles need to be followed.
- Wanting to actually be a leader: the position may be exciting but it can be very lonely and you have to be willing and able to deal with that. There will be few around you with whom you can share your burden so you will need strong reserves of self-determination, courage and the ability to pick yourself up after the inevitable setbacks that will come along.
- Know who to keep on your side: understand who it is around you that are important to your success, who can motivate others for you and who has expertise and knowledge that you need. Once these key players are identified, work carefully and consistently to use them and to keep them as allies.
- Develop excellent communication skills: draw people to your message and make sure that, at all times, your followers understand your values and philosophy. Leadership often involved selling a difficult message so your range of polished and high-quality communication skills is an essential ingredient of your success. Above all else, understand your audience.
- Be an excellent listener: seek out different points of view before you decide on any major initiative or action. You cannot have all of the answers, no matter how good you are, and being a wise leader is all about taking advice and informed views from those around you.
- Use the past to guide you in making current and future decisions: look at the decisions and strategies of others in a similar position to yourself and use this information as a guide. In a way this is benefitting from the positive and negative decisions of others, just as future leaders will use your decisions to help guide them.
- Keep a balanced view: seeing issues from just one perspective is a flawed approach. The success of changes you might want to make is not just about your vision for change, it is more important to consider the impact of what you are looking to achieve upon others around you and definitely those further down the organisation. Great ideas often fail because the leader has just looked at an issue from one viewpoint.
- Power can blind you: having a powerful position can lead to you believe that a leader can do almost anything and serious misjudgements about the actual influence that can be exerted often leads to some unpleasant outcomes.
- Never believe your own propaganda: this is all about knowing your own limitations as a human being and not being swept up in the emotion of the role you are now in. Do not consider yourself to ne infallible or invincible – this only leads to real failure and disappointment. Be humble and realistic.
- Recognise when it is time to go: we all have a shelf-life so it is very important to recognise when the time is right to do something different.
You can have all the qualities that make a great leader but you will always need luck and good timing to show what you can do.
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