Do you have management staff, or do you have effective leadership in your business?
It’s crucial to know the difference and recognize where things really have to improve if you’d like your business to become successful and stay the course.
Multimillionaire and Bestselling Author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker spent decades discovering what the secrets are to becoming and staying happy, successful and wealthy.
He learned that how you do anything is how you do everything and that YOU are the common denominator in your failures and successes.
So if you care about the quality of your life, sustained success and longevity of your business, the strength of your wealth and leaving a legacy, you’ll want to read on.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a jerk of a boss?
You know, the criticizing cretin who’s deaf to great ideas and takes credit for your efforts?
Or perhaps a member of the management squad who’s inability to make decisions produced an overthinker, who is unable to give clear instructions and confuses micromanaging everyone with being useful and productive?
These types of leaders make work and life much less fun.
And these are merely a few ways that ‘those in charge’ fail at providing effective leadership.
What a shame, because leadership is what shapes every detail of our world!
Civilizations could simply not exist if people refused to cooperate.
But cooperation only happens when we agree on what must be done.
Leaders are the ones who manage the agreements within our groups.
And when adequate, competent leadership skills are lacking, everybody suffers.
Although there are many styles of effective leadership, the best leaders all share common principles.
If you desire to boost the overall success of your business or team, using these insights will make your own life so much better.
And it’s not necessary for you to be the ‘one in charge’ to practice excellent leadership.
As an employee or freelancer, effective leadership skills can get you noticed and can also help you get ahead, not to mention the positive improvement in your own personal life!
Let’s dive in and see how effective leadership is potentially the key to all your success.
The quality of leadership is blatantly obvious by how the members of a group interact and feel.
Excellent leaders create excellent cultures which are a joy for people to be part of.
The strong enthusiasm results in things getting done.
Failures or mistakes become opportunities for learning so that next time, everyone can do better.
When people regularly feel drained and frustrated, it’s usually due to leadership issues.
Two common areas of challenge are accountability and communication.
A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody. – Thomas Paine
One of Harv’s primary principles for success is that your word must be law.
Leaders who fail to keep their word don’t model accountability.
And group members cannot rely on one another when leaders don’t ensure everyone follows through, which creates mass confusion.
Deadlines are missed, balls get dropped, and everyone ends up blaming somebody else.
More than struggling to complete tasks, people might not actually know what it is that needs to get done!
And the recurring result?
A fresh new crisis that rears its ugly head every minute.
The constant pressure to put out fires and run at full speed 24/7 gets everyone exhausted and frustrated.
Every little task takes more energy and time than it really should.
And with no opportunity to discover how to do things efficiently, the consistent exposure to stress eats away at enthusiasm, productivity and health.
Focusing solely on their own personal gain to the detriment of everyone else and at the expense of the team and organization is another certain failure of leadership accountability.
As an example, Eddie Lampert, the former Sears CEO, was criticized for many years for focusing exclusively on shareholder benefit while ignoring the needs of both employees and customers.
In the wake of the bankruptcy the company suffered, a lawsuit was launched against Lampert for repayment of “billions of dollars of value looted” from Sears.
Under poor leadership, communication is dismal and too often, critical information is unclear or completely absent.
Disagreements and misunderstandings become common and nobody’s certain of what the goals are, let alone how to best achieve them.
A leader doesn’t need to be the one organizing and sharing updates and information.
However, a leader must make sure somebody is, to prevent mass deliberation on whether to use an en-dash or semicolon (So let me save you the time okay - ditch the semicolons and use the freakin dash!).
Communication style may cause huge problems too.
For example, when leaders criticize or belittle team members, other people may copy them.
This creates an environment of misery where no one desires to speak to anyone.
Being respectful is merely the beginning.
Leaders simply must understand that people have their own unique ways of discussing ideas.
Some people are analytical, while others tend to be more intuitive.
When leaders fail to bridge differences, getting anything done can be very hard.
It’s clear that poor leadership inevitably creates a poor culture, but how does this impact reality?
What is the ultimate cost of allowing these conditions to persist?
Leaving leadership issues unaddressed, creates a variety of problems which spiral out of control.
Motivation decreases, and performance deteriorates.
Efficiency and productivity crash, so everything ends up costing more.
Projects get finished after deadlines, and problems remain unsolved.
In essence, everything becomes repulsive.
When your business suffers this inefficiency, you may feel overwhelmed and unsupported.
It could feel like there’s no follow through from your team, however…
They might feel completely helpless to change anything.
Customers feel let down when they begin to notice the decline in quality.
There’s no delivery on promise.
So sales tend to drop and customer retention takes a nosedive.
As was the case with Sears when Lampert insisted on using funds to buy back stock shares, instead of investing in its stores.
For years, sales steadily dropped, because nobody enjoys shopping at an outdated, ugly store where nobody’s happy!
Profit and revenue start sliding and financial targets are not achieved.
It becomes more difficult to make changes or reach goals when money is lacking.
The business fights an uphill battle to stay alive, let alone grow.
Lampert decided to sell off core company assets to be able to fund daily operational expenses.
If you’re the owner of a small business, this kind of scenario can put you in a dilemma.
You’re not earning the income that you’d hoped for but getting out could cost you.
You may have a problem selling off the business at a profit or at all, because it’s not set up as a good investment.
The ship’s sinking, and there are only so many holes you can plug.
If it’s not growing, it’s automatically dying.
Inescapable collapse can only be prevented if things change.
Departments close down, jobs disappear, and businesses crash.
Sears had survived two world wars, the Great Depression, and even the emergence of e-commerce.
The lack of effective leadership is what conclusively killed it.
Here’s yet another example – one of our team members was formerly employed at a large company in the marketing department.
Managers vexed their employees and suppressed innovation… despite the profit it brought the company!
Oftentimes, with virtually no instruction and at the last minute, people were bombarded with major projects…
“Are you done with that 50-page catalog that’s due in three days?”
One random day (during a holiday at Disneyland!), she received a call with the message that the entire marketing department was being laid off!
And this was just the start of it - the whole company has since closed down.
If the outcome of poor leadership sounds as delightful as your life savings going up in flames, there’s still good news.
Great and effective leadership can turn things around for extraordinary and favorable results.
Effective leadership creates a safe, positive and creative environment.
People thrive when they enjoy working together and experience a sense of belonging and loyalty.
Trust and morale improve.
Everyone’s role is clearly defined and group members are in the loop.
This makes it easier to get the job done as they can share and access information as required.
Productivity increases and costs reduce.
People who feel included and valued are more engaged.
Everyone gets on much better and willingly cooperates to improve everything for the group and for each other.
They’re free to offer great new ideas for serving customers, streamlining work, and cutting costs.
Enthusiasm and stronger motivation means challenges are resolved better and faster.
The positive group vibe boosts quality of both life and work for everyone.
With reduced costs and improved systems, profits can skyrocket.
And it’s not limited only to money.
Whatever gains you’re hoping for, effective leadership will ensure you receive more of it.
This may include goodwill, new opportunities and reputation.
Effective leaders endeavor to create continual improvement.
Testing new ideas and tracking results lets them build on every success.
The end result is an organization that grows and evolves.
Contrary to the Sears disaster, a different retailer created incredible success by means of their emphasis on providing effective leadership.
For instance, ‘The Container Store’ takes pride in excellent care of their employees and customers.
Their wage offer is higher with better benefits than that of similar companies.
And while the Great Recession of 2008 had companies laying people off all over the place, they discovered creative avenues to keep people enabled to earn a living.
This created an enormous amount of engagement and loyalty.
And the results are evident.
With an exceedingly successful IPO in 2013, they consistently rank in the top U.S. companies to be employed at.
Effective leadership demands both a winning attitude and very specific traits.
This combination empowers you to influence and guide others to be and do their best.
Not only the individuals, but the whole organization benefits.
Poor leaders display qualities that are either too weak or too strong.
The strong ones dominate and intimidate others, using force to ‘get their own way’.
They exasperate people and rule by means of criticism and fear.
If they’re lucky, their victory is short-lived as their goals are usually undermined by the emotionally toxic environment their attitudes create.
Frequently, poor leaders face serious criticism, and as it happens, legal action (like Lampert).
Weak leaders grapple with making clear decisions.
Their direction is ineffective and they hold nobody accountable for their actions.
They garner no respect and inspire no confidence.
Good leaders get the job done and influence others to do things their way.
They make the tough calls and do what they believe is of most benefit to the organization.
Too often though, they don’t earn loyalty and don’t inspire people.
They may treat others with general respect, but are distant and don’t invite creative input.
Their ability to think and act outside the box comes up short, and their vision can be lacking..
Therefore they miss growth opportunities based on their failure to adapt.
Great leaders are actively interested in their people and receive the same interest in return, prompting mutual interest in the group’s success.
These leaders aid the development and growth of others.
Each person has the freedom to present their own strategies to support team goals.
Now let’s introduce some key characteristics of effective leaders.
Here’s how these rock stars gain enthusiastic buy-in while creating an environment of dedication, ingenuity, and trust.
Effective leaders are masters at communicating, and assertive about their views and ideas.
They use clear and very specific language to ensure they’re understood.
They also know they’re not the ones with all the answers, therefore they choose to surround themselves with people who are smart.
Also, they remain approachable, making others feel comfortable to offer their own great ideas.
Top leaders are excellent listeners.
Some of the most astounding business turnarounds ever occurred because new leaders came onboard to help refocus company efforts.
In 1997, Steve Jobs rejoined Apple and jettisoned the majority of the product line.
They were on the brink of bankruptcy when Jobs took control and set them on their new path.
Biographer Walter Isaacson quoted what Jobs said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do”.
Under his leadership, company efforts were streamlined to focus on a few core services and products.
Soon they became one of the country’s fastest growing companies.
And as it turns out, the first U.S. company to ever achieve a $1-trillion valuation, was Apple in 2018.
Effective leadership demands excellence and that’s why leaders who have integrity elicit real trust and are great role models to others.
When you’re working with integrity, you are honest with yourself, with your team members and with everyone affected by your direction.
You focus on what your strengths are, and know your limits.
You openly admit your flaws and use your own mistakes as learning and teaching moments.
You allow some transparency about the organization as well as about yourself.
For example, certain business owners work on an “open-book” policy.
By sharing financial information with employees regularly, everyone can see how the company’s investing in areas that benefit everybody.
And by feeling included, team members are more inclined to be helpful and cooperative.
Nothing else so inspires and heartens people as words of appreciation. You and I may soon forget the words of encouragement and appreciation that we utter now. But the person to whom we have spoken may treasure them and repeat them to themselves over a lifetime. – Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People
People don’t only like appreciation, but they yearn for it.
When you provide it with honesty, they tend to trust and like you more which in turn, results in their willingness to listen and perform better.
It’s no accident that “appreciate” also means “to increase in value”.
By appreciating others, you escalate how valuable you perceive them to be, as well as how valuable they personally feel about themselves.
And ultimately, they’ll make great strides to live up to their appreciated value.
Appreciation and praise are great motivators, however, what happens when people don’t follow through, or make mistakes?
Effective leaders hold others as accountable as they do themselves.
Great leaders also offer clear rewards (and honor their word) for great performance.
Similarly, effective leaders will set consequences for substandard work.
But they don’t necessarily dictate these terms.
They talk things over with their people and get agreement ahead of time.
That way everyone knows what their role is and what’s expected of them.
While great leaders embody effective leadership, they also maintain accountability to their team.
They fix mistakes, follow through with delivery on promises, and honor their word.
They live up to, and often exceed, the very high standards they hold other people to.
Any change within any business, or within the market it serves, can produce challenges.
At times, despite excellent effort and planning, results simply don’t materialize.
Do great leaders freak out and crumble under the pressure?
Of course not, they maintain a composed presence and get to work on turning things around.
Under effective leadership problems become opportunities.
And when people have different working styles and points of view, great leaders easily diffuse conflicts within their teams.
Much like Nick Fury transformed a group of powerful misfits into an elite heroic fighting unit in ‘The Avengers’, top leaders find the best way for people to work together by helping them resolve differences.
And so, the whole freakin’ Universe gets saved!
Embrace innovation if you’d like growth in your organization.
The leaders who encourage this reap massive rewards and ensure their enterprise’s longevity.
But in turn, new ideas require testing before investing resources into them.
Great leaders know better than to pursue every new trendy shiny object that presents itself.
Although they tend to stay informed and welcome new ideas.
No rule says you must be an officially appointed leader to embody these traits.
Whenever there’s interaction between two or more people, there’s opportunity for leadership.
Your effective leadership can guide and benefit your colleagues, your life partner, your community… even your employer!
Remain present, optimistic and remember to listen.
Give due credit where applicable.
Show true appreciation and make mutual accountability the norm in the best way possible.
And when others lose their sense because of a problem… you can execute effective leadership by simply being the rational adult in the room and staying level-headed.
Effective leadership is essential for even modest success when you’re running your own business.
It is also vital for building the sort of business that will generate fortunes.
If this is your goal, you must be able to rely on others to run things for you, which requires you to systemize as well as delegate.
With effective leadership, you’ll be able to empower and motivate your team in a way they’re capable of handling everything expertly when you’re not there.
Because once your business runs smoothly without the demand for your involvement, you’ve leveled up your leadership-kung fu.
And that’s how your impact on the world becomes amplified, and how you’ll get to enjoy the abundance of wealth, as well as the lifestyle you’ve created for yourself!
Not that it would be a secret, as excellent results are evident when your business is doing great and team members love being there.
If you wish to never be poor or broke or unsuccessful again, understand that effective leadership skills can be cultivated, and it has everything to do with your willingness to improve and master yourself.
No doubt you’ve encountered many different types of heirs, jerks, bosses and managers who didn’t have a clue what they were doing when it came to leadership...
People who were burdened with the responsibility of being in charge despite having little or no aptitude or desire for it.
This does not have to be your story whether you're a business owner or the person in charge, and your organization does not have to suffer at the hands of incompetence, inadequacy and ineptitude.
Manage what you wish to keep and remember that you are your habits.
Leadership is about who you are, not about who and what you know.
You can apply effective leadership to every area of your life as the key is that you lead by being the example.
Whether your goals are to improve personal relationships, strengthen your business acumen or change the world in a big way, developing effective leadership skills will ensure you accomplish them.
This summary on leadership is but the tip of the iceberg and as much as you will find them helpful, there is far more that can be elaborated on.
Has your Mind ever wondered…
When you treat all staff with the same dignity and respect you treat upper management, people know you can be trusted.
When the same rules that apply to everyone, apply to you and all members within the organization, people know you are fair.
When you make an error in judgment and you own it, people know that you’re not there for the money or to be a boss, but will be inspired by your humility and to acknowledge their mistakes too.
When your motives are communicated clearly, it’s easier for team members to get and stay on the same page.
When you encourage innovation and ingenuity, people tend to cooperate especially when individuals are credited for their achievements.
When effective leadership is at the helm of an enterprise, the culture is productive, cooperative and pleasant.
In order to maintain a sustainable business, confidence and trust are required not only from customers, but within the teams of the company.
A professional and pragmatic environment breeds growth, and nurtures the same excellence in customer service as effective leadership nurtures in the care of their team members.
Core values are expressed as communication is clear and one, and also not one sided.
Great leaders set the tone for excellence and create harmony in the symphony of any business.
Effective leadership requires a unified and clearly communicated vision that all team members are naturally motivated to adopt.
Great leaders make this possible as they foster collaboration, focus on strengths and authenticity and are inclusive of innovations.
There is always room for improvement, growth and personal development and one thing that sets successful people apart, is the willingness and ability to own their thoughts, words and actions and accept responsibility for it.
Leadership becomes effective when open honest communication is the foundation of what is being built and when accountability is fair.
The same rules must apply to everyone.