What is it about some leaders that distinguish them from other leaders?
Let me explain it to you with a small but significant story.
Recently, a friend of mine visited a spiritual organization in India. Out of the many things that intrigued and inspired her, one of them was watching the leader of that prestigious organization examining a toilet brush to check its quality, as if it was a crucial part of his duty.
A toilet brush? Can you imagine?
I could not help but wonder– maybe for him, it was.
And that’s when I realized that leadership is so much more about attention-to-detail than the bigger picture and the theatrics.
While some pour maximum effort into looking the part and balancing their public image, others are actively involved in “the process.”
And the results speak for themselves – the conducive environment, growth, and synchronization within the organization.
However, this very quality of being concerned about the ground reality seems to be lacking in budding entrepreneurs today. The thrill of achieving the overall effect of leadership roles overrides the essence of what it truly means to be a leader.
Interestingly, there are many myths surrounding the concept. Let’s read on to find out about some of the many perceptions.
A leader’s task is to bind together the collective efforts and provide direction. Organizing people towards a goal is leadership, whereas being able to motivate them towards achieving it is to be a true leader.
So, which one are you?
How well you execute the demand of your position depends solely on you. What matters is who you are as a person and what you believe in. Communicating the vision is leadership but to embody the vision itself is being a leader.
In reality, it is an art cultivated through experience and introspection. It is a balance between hard work and smart work, not just genetics or a stroke of luck.
A leader doesn’t have to be a genius– but a good listener, observer and analyzer. Of course, with a drive that is enough to pull the entire organization through any situation.
In reality, a true leader works with the diverse talents of their team and acknowledges their efforts. A true leader always leads by example.
The idea is to foster productive communication between other team members, departments and between yourself and them.
To convey an idea for a new business model, communicating the strategy to the team members would require you to be straightforward and transparent. However, you must also be an active listener to benefit from the feedback.
Success is non-linear and is only embraced through acceptance.
“Acceptance of what?” you may ask.
Let’s start with your weaknesses and strengths. Here’s how:
Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company, created automotive parts in 1936 for Toyota and got rejected. He handled the rebuff and worked his way to founding his own Company. Honda released its first motorized bike in 1949. And the rest, is history.
So, strengthen your potential by learning from your failures. Harness confidence to climb to the non-linear path of success.
Robin Sharma, one of the world’s top leadership experts, quotes, “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.”
When you start believing that there’s always room for improvement, all while acknowledging your and your team’s progress, that’s what a growth mindset is all about.
Here are some simple ways to embrace a growth mindset:
“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
- Ned Stark, Game of Thrones
Integrating a group towards a common goal can be a very testing task. However, it isn’t impossible. Here is how you can do it:
Walt Disney, the engineer of magic, is still looked upon fondly as a leader who participated with his team to create a dreamland that is still known as one of the happiest places in the world.
Being the shield of your team is no trifling matter. Learning from the leader gorilla, Leadership is more than being in charge– it is about taking care of those in your charge.
The leader is automatically viewed as the saviour if things go awry. However, it is what strengthens the foundation of your principles.
Reuben Yonatan, Founder and CEO of GetVoIP, pushed himself and his employees too hard to make sure they quickly became profitable– which led to burnout.
Having learnt the hard way, he soon embraced a healthy work-life balance for himself and his team. This has led his company to greater heights, both professionally and personally.
Hence, it’s important to strike the perfect balance between ambition and flexibility.
Skills and qualities are important, but having the zeal to be an efficient leader is more influential. That "zeal" is the driving force behind all strategies and blueprints.
Ursula Burns, Chairman & CEO of Xerox, believes, "The best way to change it is to do it. After a while, you become it, and it's easy."
Surely, these words are as significant as they are simple. To hardwire a mindset like that takes discipline and steadiness, and I'm sure you can do it.
What peanut butter is to jelly, effective leadership is to successful entrepreneurship.
Not only does it propel growth and discovery– it keeps the organization motivated toward the collective goal. While the entrepreneur in you works toward building a vision, the leader in you inspires your employees to execute it.
Leadership in itself is an all-encompassing concept.
It seems like a mountain to climb, but the fact remains that each step counts. And the first step towards scaling it is introspection, i.e., looking within.
Start by asking yourself:
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