7 Keys To Leadership That Works In Today’s Challenging Times

1.  Inspiration

You are a standard setter.  If you’re not inspired and enthusiastic about your organization’s future, you’ll never get your people inspired.  It all starts with you.  As Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express puts it, “My role is to define reality and to give hope.”

2. Example

Your co-workers are watching everything you do and listening to everything you say.  And it all matters.  A leader leads by example, whether he/she intends to or not.

3. Strategic Thinking

Your followers expect you to look into the future, do some serious thinking about it, and plan accordingly.  As Albert Einstein observed, “I think and think for months and years.  Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false.  The hundreth time I am right.”

4. Focus

In healthy, effective organizations, the leader focuses all of the people and all of the resources on the same strategy.  It’s called alignment.  The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson Sr., knew that.  He advised, “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”

5. Measurement

Leaders refuse to fly blind.  They’re always measuring how well things are going, and how much progress is being made toward the vision or overall goal.  Jac Fitz-Enz said, “Without metrics, managers are only caretakers.”

6. Implementation

It’s one thing to gather data and measure outcomes … as suggested in point 5.  It’s another thing to actually do something with the data being received.  For example, one way Microsoft became so successful was they listened to their customers and implemented some of the changes they suggested.   As Bill Gates pronounces, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

7. Improvement

There are no perfect people and there are no perfect processes on Earth.  Everthing can be changed for the better.  And highly effective leaders are always looking for and implementing those improvements.  Again Bill Gates has commented, saying, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.  The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

For a powerful learning experience, to dramatically improve your leadership and motivational skills, check out my seminar on “The Leadership Payoff:  How The Best Leaders Bring Out The Best In Others … And So Can You.”