Learnt this wisdom from a serial entrepreneur today – “We cannot be everything to everyone!” When we try to do that, It is confusing not just for others but for ourselves too. We must prioritize what and where we should focus on. Clearly defining the “Why” behind what you we are doing is absolute must to define what we are focused on.
Know your why, define what you must focus on and then execute.
Skillful leadership is essential for the success of a business and achieving set goals. Some people are born leaders, while others develop the skills and abilities to lead business efficiently. A leader in an organization have specific day-to-day duties that bound them in a pattern and addresses only the pressing concerns. Many leaders have fallen into this trap, watching their next step and not being able to see what’s down the road.
A leader helps a business to make detailed plans with a vision in mind and set smart goals to achieve them. The leader’s role is to design a strategy and execute them to make the most of it. The key is to understand how to create a winning strategy and work collectively to reach the desired goal.
A leader has a lot to learn about core leadership values and principles from history. History remembers leaders like Napoleon and Genghis Khan for their strategic leadership as they shaped the world as we know it. It’s important to understand that none of the great leaders accomplished on their own. Both leaders had a loyal army at their back, who trusted their commander’s order and believed in their leaders’ great vision. There is a lot to learn about leadership qualities from history, although you may not be focusing on conquering nations. A leader’s role is to find the right people, assign them their responsibility and give them adequate resources and autonomy to do their job well.
While handling a new project, it is essential to make a plan first. Don’t start assigning responsibilities, duties and micromanage your team or soldiers. If there is a need for additional training or assistance for handling a particular task or entire project, make it your priority. Encourage team members to take ownership of their duties and be accountable for the task’s success or failure. Lastly, a leader needs to give commendation to the right person who did the work.
Take Strategic Risks
You can’t get a job unless you apply, you can’t get a date unless you ask, and you can’t paint a masterpiece without putting color on the canvas. In business and life, there is nothing that comes with 100 percent surety. As a strategic leader, you should not be afraid to take risks. However, there is a big difference between a “risk” and a “gamble.” Like a poker game, you evaluate all the possibilities for risk or failure and take strategic risks to mitigate losses and get the most out of the opportunities. Even though most people consider “Poker” as a gambling game, it is truly a game of skill.
A leader, just like a poker player, needs to predict the success of a plan or decision with relative accuracy, even when the odds are not in favor. For a leader, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose. A leader should take the risk in business in the same way. Not to go all-in on something that has a marginal chance for success or where there are only meager returns. Examine your options and make prudent decisions, but don’t be shy to bet on the winning hand.
The rise of AI and digital technologies has changed how businesses used to operate earlier. To adapt to this changing environment, a leader needs to create a collaborative ecosystem to speed up the evolving process. Companies that struggle to keep up with the breakneck pace risk being shut down. There is always a risk that a business will isolate itself and fail to adapt to the changes happening around us.
Organizations are further divided into departments and individuals that often fail to meet the larger goal by not realizing how they as a team or individual can contribute to achieving goals. A leader’s role is to create a collaborative culture and ensure every employee knows how they can contribute to achieving the bigger goal with resources available. Encouraging a collaborative environment in an organization makes sense of inclusion, and team diversity can cultivate innovative ideas.
However, not every department needs collaboration. For example, there is no need for the manufacturing team to collaborate with the accounts team to keep records in the car manufacturing industry. Keeping the communication channels between the different departments of the organization is a great idea, especially when one team’s efforts impact the other team.
Having a vision is a vital leadership value for a leader. To reach a destination, you need to know where you are going and how to get there. A journey without a goal is just wandering, and a leader can’t afford to wander in this highly competitive environment. To be successful, it is crucial to explain to his team what success looks like for the organization, the team, and every individual that is part of the project. Describing the vision to everyone will give them an idea about what steps need to be taken to achieve that vision. A goal needs to be reasonable and well within reach, but something makes the team stretch a little while attaining it. A leader must set a goal after analyzing the relevant information and using strategic thinking skills. Before setting a goal, a leader should set standards on achieving a goal and measure its success and failure; otherwise, the vision will be flawed.
We have already explained how a leader should encourage collaboration among different organization departments to adopt advanced processes faster. A business and a leader need to drive change to keep up with the new technological trends and excel in the professional world.
A leader needs to take strategic risks and be ready when presented with a good idea or an opportunity. Change is necessary, and at some point, organizations and individuals should realize that they can’t continue doing things the same way. Eventually, for survival, a business needs to change, and it’s better to change sooner for the more significant benefit of the business.
It’s not that easy to become a leader, and implementing these principles certainly requires some hard work. If you are worried about how to develop leadership principles and values, to become a leader – work on these leadership values until the hard work pays off. Leaders become the trendsetter and steer their organizations through dangerous waters while going through changes and innovation. If this is what you aspire to become, it’s time to start implementing these leadership values and principles.
There are moments in our lives that define or redefine our leadership principles and our lives. One such incident just happened and brought me back to my core values. One of my previous direct reports came to meet me and gifted something very special. He appreciated me for my leadership style of transparency, empathy, trust and getting the best out of people. It was a humbling and life redefining moment for me! As it was was a redefining moment hence thought of sharing here.
This is a priceless gift for me as he invested thoughts, money and then loads of time. This is a 1970 vintage watch that he bought online for approx. $500-$1000. He spent lot of time cleaning the inside mechanism, restoring the outside/bezel and installing a brand new leather band. He loves to restore vintage watches and this one was very special for him. As per him he went through all this labor because he appreciates my friendship, leadership and the value I have added. I may never be able to repay him for this gift and I doubt if I ever added that much value into his life.
At this time you must be thinking, how is this vintage watch related to my leadership principles? Please trsut me and stay with me for another minute.
Since early childhood, I have lead teams at school, college, community and now in the professional world. All these years I have built my list of leadership principles that I lead with on a daily basis. These are leadership principles that I either discovered (not invented) in the process or learned from other leaders by following or reading books on leadership. Here are my top 10 leadership principles:
Be the exampleof the culture you want to build in your team and remembered for
Respect your team members in every situation
Lead withempathy and transparency as it builds TRUST in short and long term
Operate with accountability
Enable performance by promoting the culture of short term wins and celebrating them as a team
Focus on the strengths of your team members. Only coach them in areas of weakness if it is hurting or will hurt them
Feedback is a gift. Be vulnerable as a leader and allow your team members their feedback on you
Have fun with your team. Culture is not built while you are working on the projects but when you are not. Find opportunities to have fun time, learn about them, their families, journeys, aspirations etc.
So here comes the link between the two that I promised you earlier......
We all live in real-world where we often swim with sharks. I have been going through some rough patches in my life and questioning my leadership principles. I have been questioning their validity in the corporate world where there is a cut-throat competition. What matters in those environments is goals/numbers in each quarter, your perception among your seniors and peers and much more. Questions that have been bothering me for months are: Do I need to change to survive and be successful in the corporate world? Do I need to change my leadership principles and be one of the “sharks”? Do I need to stop being that “Nice Guy”, “servant leader”, “Strength finder”?
...Here is the connection back to the wonderful gift. I am glad you waited and continued the journey to see how this all connects...
This thoughtful gift and the humbling incident brought me back on-track. It answered my questions that I must continue to be who I am. I am defined by the principles, beliefs and values that I have lived with. Yes, I evolve those to become better as per the North Star of my life but I cannot change them completely or in the opposite direction. These are the leadership principles that align with my True North.
This team member appreciated me and gave me such a thoughtful gift because he likes to be led with these leadership principles. These leadership principles have enabled him during those years when was part of my team and believed in him, trusted him and enabled him. We have always been a family that works hard, extra hard in times of need, backs-up each other, and then have fun together.
When I retire from my professional career, I will like to be remembered for the value I created in the life of my fellow co-workers and the organizations. I will like to be known for the value I gave back to the community that I helped me become better every day. I will like to be known for the smiles I brought, careers I enabled and dreams I helped to come to life for my family, friends and colleagues.
Only existing or new leadership principles can help me reach my True North and not some shallow principles that may help me be temporarily successful. This gift empowered me to continue believing in my leadership principles. It forced me to think again about my end game and not just this small destination which is part of my long journey. Once-again I believe in the power of my decades-old leadership principles!
I hope my story inspires you to question yourself and identify your leadership principles. What will you like to be remembered for? What are the memories you want to retire with? How many lives do you want to touch & add value? I hope you will share your story one day and inspire me!
In this time of fear and chaos, I have a choice just like everyone else, every day, every minute and for almost everything. The choice is to choose hope over fear or fear over hope.
I have a choice to choose hope that me, family, friends, and community will stay safe or fear and worry about who in my circle may be infected with Coronavirus
I have a choice to choose hope that there were will enough groceries for my family or fear that there will be no supply left and I must hoard.
I will take this as a great opportunity for my family to be together all the time for the next few weeks or worry that WFH and kids Learning from home (LFH) will create chaos at my home.
I will take this as an opportunity to serve my circle in need instead of fear and worries on Coronavirus that pushes me hard to just think about me and my family. I have the choice to act one way or another both offline and online.
The major issue with what we are facing in the moment of change is that we see it as a problem! Perhaps, we probably have dealt with these particular circumstances that appear perplexed and more we think about it more challenging it seems.
However, in the truest sense, it isn’t a headache. This is just a transformation of the way something used to be and this is definitely a thing that we can adjust to. Ultimately we will find how to address it successfully or live with it peacefully.
Once we have this attitude, now we are self-advised to perceive this experience more about adapting to new than fixing certain problems. Once we start seeing it that way; Observe! the whole situation is getting to look much simpler and brighter.