There are trends over trends popping up in leadership discussions and most of the times, what was thought to be good leadership gets somehow turned around. You are now supposed to be authentic and truthful, which aren’t exactly traits the traditional leader was seen as having. But besides all the trends and the billion Dollar leadership coaching industry, there are indeed some examples of leadership principles that have survived over time and thus seem to still be of great value.
Have a clear vision and share it
Having a vision doesn’t have to be abstract. On the contrary, when you have the details under control, the big picture usually looks much better anyway. So understand your structures, your company, pay attention to the details and the processes that turn out with poorer results than desired. Use your team, share your vision, make everyone’s priority the prosperity of the company. Only when all your employees want to improve constantly you can count on a smooth ride. Find out what they want to accomplish and what drives them. That also means that you have to let go of some control and rely on your team that needs to have a clear idea of your vision and what needs to happen to make it a reality. So communicate that frequently!
Keep the eyes on the prize
Don’t get distracted. Your company needs to make money, so make profitability your overall priority. Because that’s your source for all the “feelgood” activities that are to come like innovation, growth and charity – and your safety net for all kinds of errors and crisis you may face. And profits can also help your employees see how they contribute and how the “machine” works.
Understand your hires
Yes, the people are your company. So it’s quite obvious how important the HR and hiring processes are and how you need to invest in them and make them a team effort (as well as a top priority). The people are making your money and they need to fit you, the company and the tasks and it can’t be downsized or standardized to the extent of negligence (like it too often is). Involve the team and understand how a new candidate fits in the team and the surrounding.
One of the principles a majority of leaders agree upon when it comes to “what makes a good leader a great leader” is continuous learning. Great leaders always extend their horizons and acquire new skills. They tend to more and more do this “offsite” at conferences or coaching opportunities, followed by E-Learning and actual training on the job. As a consequence good leadership also means getting out there, putting yourself out there and finding out what new impulses can benefit your business. You have to make the time for education and invest in your skills. That principle really never gets old!