According to John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way." Maxwell’s definition exposes the three key factors that distinguish a leader, which are - he is someone who knows his destination, moves towards his destination, and guides others who follow him to do the same.
"Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long-term constructive goals, in a participatory environment of mutual respect, compatible with personal values." Says Mike Vance.
It is said that the mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates while the great teacher inspires. A leader is supposed to be a great teacher. Someone who through practice can inspire his followers to achieve a common goal.
For every new level of growth in an organization, new leadership skill sets are required to sustain and enhance the growth. The skills that enabled an individual to perform at a high level are rarely the same ones that will support them as influential leaders. The biggest issue with many entrepreneurs is the skill sets that got them to where they are right now are not enough to get them where they need to go. Being the founder of a startup is not the same as being the CEO of a large company. The thinking needs to change because the risk and liabilities, as well as the opportunities, are also bigger.
Here are five core competencies that you need to develop to help your company get to the next level
1. Don’t be afraid to delegate
When the business was smaller, you have done a great job doing most of the work yourself using your expertise and talent. As the business grows larger, however, you may need to give it up. You will need to delegate more often and focus on managing and directing other people's work instead of doing the work yourself.
The reason for this is quite simple; if you are too busy doing the work, you can't focus on the work of others and manage them.
2. Eliminate Ineffective Behaviours
Success is not only about doing things that work; it’s also about removing things that don’t work. To grow your company to the next level, think of things that need to stop and eliminate practices (whether corporate or personal) that result in frustration and disappointment. This can mean cutting down on bureaucracy and enabling easy access to leadership.
For businesses to keep pace in today’s competitive business environment, innovation should be an organizational priority—and this type of culture starts at the top. Strong leaders are typically creative and recognize when changes could improve the workflow. Innovation is a good way for leaders to change things up and try something new—which sometimes leads to great ideas and better methods. As well-planned as a business process can be, it will inevitably encounter some obstacles to overcome. An innovative leader is someone who takes responsibility for these obstacles and creates a path toward bringing the work back to its intended expectation.
4. Schedule one-on-one time
One of the most important elements of effective leadership is creating an open line of communication with your team members. Hosting weekly one-on-one meetings strengthens relationships between the leader and their team members, builds team loyalty, and takes the guesswork out of leadership. When you invest time to get to know your people well, unfiltered conversations provide great conversations for you to make informed, forward-thinking decisions as a leader to drive exceptional results. Displaying active communication skills and transparency can build trust among your team and improve overall morale
5. Maintain Positivity
According to Rachel Smith, “A positive attitude is contagious. If your team is led and surrounded by happy and positive people, they will work harder and be happier themselves. Positivity can take many forms in the workplace—from providing snacks in the communal kitchen to keeping an upbeat tone in your internal emails. Of course, there should be a balance between playtime and productive time, but do your best to create a positive, supportive environment during the workday.”
Keep in mind that some leaders conduct strategy review meetings and only focus on the problems—i.e. the red and yellow items in their scorecard. You definitely want to be aware of issues (as no good leader has their head in the sand), but you must also take the time to recognize things that are going well with your strategy and celebrate successes, says Smith.
In all, a great leader should exhibit tenacity, patience, flexibility, responsibility, courage, confidence, and humility.