Even Great Leaders Have Room for Improvement

By January 8, 2015Career, Leadership

Every few weeks I get asked by leaders about the key areas of focus to improve results and increase effectiveness. Here are a few tactics you can start using today to grow as a leader.

Give it up
Great leaders delegate responsibilities. To delegate is to entrust a task or responsibility to another person. Think about the word “entrust” in that definition. It may seem much quicker/easier/more successful to do everything yourself, but you’ll never get out from under the work and focus on your unique leadership skills if you don’t delegate. What’s more, your team will stagnate if they aren’t given challenging tasks and the opportunity to own something. Be sure to provide your team clear direction, guidance, and the necessary resources. Then get out of their way!

Let them make mistakes
Even the best team members will make mistakes, just like you have. If you want to encourage them to make decisions, let them know it is okay to make mistakes; because a mistake is not a loss, there is always something to learn from it.

Not about you
If you believe leadership is about results and that results ultimately come from the cooperation and collaboration of others, it makes sense that leadership is less about the leader and more about the followers. No leader can achieve anything by herself. She does it by working with others to achieve intended goals. Therefore, anything you can do to affect the relationship positively between leader and team members throughout the organization is critically important.

Focus on the customer
You know that show Undercover Boss? There hasn’t been a single episode where the CEO had the experience of a foot soldier and didn’t go back to corporate with some significant changes. If you don’t deliver exceptional value to your clients, your business will suffer. It’s that simple. Therefore, revisit and refine your processes and your value proposition with your team on a regular basis. The more they understand it, the better they’ll be at executing on it. Spend between 20-25% of your time focused on the customer.

Invest in YOU
Leaders must give people reasons to follow their lead. Looking, feeling, and being the part of leader inside and out goes a long way. Take care of yourself. Dress well. Be organized. Arrive on time. Invest in and update your look. Instill great dietary and exercise habits. Look great. Feel great. Be great. Even if you need to rely on a team of experts to get these results, enlisting the help of an organizer, trainer, or stylist will pay off when you show yourself to the world.

Watch your expressions
Often leaders have no idea how they look until someone, like an executive coach or a trusted advisor, pulls them aside. So lighten up. Say something positive at least once a day. Before an important meeting, sit down, think a calming thought and even check yourself in the mirror. And smile. It will reduce the tension in your face.

Self actualization
Maximize your abilities in the capacity you seek now. Know your strengths, and focus on building them up even stronger to become more of who you are, and everything you are capable of becoming.

– Jackie Simon

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