Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leadership Lessons to Live By

In virtually every industry that exists today, leaders must set aside more time to reflect and assess their thinking, capabilities, and strategies. It is crucial that they evaluate how their leadership brand is being perceived by others and whether or not it requires a tune-up.  

According to Forbes, here are leadership lessons to help you accelerate your career as a leader.

Opportunities Are Everywhere
Leadership requires circular vision and when you begin to grow complacent, you only see the obvious details before you.  In fact, your mindset becomes stagnate because you are not stretching your perspectives enough to see more than you want to. When you fall into this trap, it’s time to reshuffle the deck, and map out the factors that are influencing your thinking. You must begin to identify areas that can be improved – such as relationships, culture, networking, how you are investing in yourself, etc.

Without Strategy, Change Is Substitution
Change management is the unwritten rule in every job description and a key success factor in your workplace performance.  Rather than wait for change to come your way, be proactive and identify patterns of change so you are prepared to manage it head-on.  As a leader, you must always have a strategy for change.  A change management strategy is the ultimate form of leadership accountability, because it forces you to think critically about what you need to do as a leader to minimize risk and maximize reward.

Embrace an Entrepreneurial Attitude
An entrepreneurial attitude that is centered on continuous renewal and reinvention of yourself as a leader and your business is what allows you to sustain success and reach for significance. The entrepreneurial attitude is a mindset; it must be an operating standard that is embedded in the minds of everyone in the organization. It’s a challenge to reinvent within industries that have been in place for decades – but you can start to employ the entrepreneurial attitude by injecting new talent, new perspectives, and new resources. 

Refresh Your Thinking
Great leadership is about keeping refreshing the way an organization thinks.  It may be a lot of work, but the marketplace demands it. This is why leaders must keep themselves refreshed with new knowledge, skill-sets and aptitudes. Time is your most valuable asset and it’s up to you to determine how to best maximize it. Be courageous, refresh your thinking and implement what you learn. 

Trust Yourself
Trusting yourself is the ability to know your strengths well enough that they allow you to navigate your workplace successfully.  It’s the ability to trust your gut and know that when preparation meets the opportunities that are in front of you, your natural talents, capabilities, and skill-sets will get you through any situation.  How many times does your gut tell you to take action but you don’t?  Instead, you wait for those around you to take the calculated risks that you are hesitant to take yourself. Effective leadership is about timing and when you don’t trust yourself, oftentimes you miss the opportunities to create impact and influence – and disrupt momentum along the way. 

Manage Your Brand
Leadership branding is the new normal for organizations seeking to operate at optimal efficiency and profitability.  When an organization’s leaders can’t define their leadership brand identity for their executive team, senior leadership team, silos begin to form and the organization begins to lose its competitive edge. When you don’t manage your leadership brand – someone else will.  When this happens, you become vulnerable to what others expect from you because you have not set forth any precedence for those expectations.  As a result, the balance of power and influence sways away from you; your own identity crisis makes it easy for others to question your capabilities, and decisions.

Adversity Can Make or Break You
Adversity management reveals you. What others might see as a big problem – you might see as a situation that is easily manageable.  When you see adversity through a lens of opportunity, it gives you a leg-up and a powerful competitive advantage.  How you manage adversity will shape the way others see the real leader that you are. 

A Leader’s Success Is Never Won or Lost in an Instant
The significance of your leadership tenure is defined by your complete body of work.  It is the culmination of the work you do — how it all ties together and how you handle the rough patches along the way — that forms your legacy. If you cannot sustain consistency, you begin to lose value for your brand and the platform you are trying to create to influence outcomes.

Give to Others in Faith, Not in Expectation

Leadership is about sharing the harvest of the momentum that you are building with others. Leaders must recognize that it is their responsibility to inspire and unite – and in doing so they expand their influence through others. Amongst many things, leadership is about making those around you better – by being a great teacher, investing in relationships, and making sound decisions.  One day they may give back to you more than you ever expected – but don’t go into it expecting others to reciprocate.
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