In any leadership role in business, many other people are judging
you on your effectiveness every day. If you run a small business, a home office
or a solo consultancy, or have a virtual team of independents, the same
standards apply to you too. Clients judge you for the sales and service they
receive. Staff and vendors judge you for how well you communicate needs,
objectives, and requirements as well as corrective measures. Peers in your
market and industry judge your success. Your accountant and banker judge your
Here are ten characteristics that distinguish effective leadership regardless of the industry you are in or the size of your business. Striving for excellence in these 10 areas is not only admirable but also essential in this fast-paced global marketplace. In this new economy, recheck your scorecard. How are you doing?
- Reset the bar – aspire to ever evolving higher standards for yourself and your business; you can’t afford to rest on past successes.
- Know your strengths – when you know what you do best, it becomes clearer what you need to off load to others. Only then can you hire the best to do the rest.
- Communicate clearly – KISS still works (Keep It Simple S____). In written form, bullets work better than a treatise no one reads. Direct language conveys the message and the meaning without confusion or difficulty.
- Communicate appropriately – use email to pass on information. If you need an answer or want a dialog, meet them face-to-face or call them.
- Help your people do their best daily – Your personal performance depends a lot on your people. Your job as the leader is to make it as easy as possible for them to excel at their job for your business, which in turn makes you look good and the business succeed. If they don’t excel at their work, it’s your problem. It’s also your responsibility not theirs to fix.
- Lead your team to achieve the business mission – not only must you walk your talk, but you have to imbue your team with that same passion and purpose for the business.
- Leadership takes brains and a vision. But great heart, courage and wisdom are also essential parts of strong leadership – the business can’t work automatically on its own. Effective leaders build relationships all the time to get results from vendors, clients and their team.
- Leadership of your business is not static but evolving – when you look around, you see that the best leaders are continuously learning - to stay ahead of the curve. That learning can take the form or classes, conferences, books, articles, consultants, coaches, mentors and business advisors – at work and outside of work.
- Require and expect abundant energy of yourself and for yourself. Require and expect nothing less from your business and your team – the discipline and commitment you invest will give you a good return.
- Create growth opportunities for each person on your team – which in turn will create more and new opportunities for you to grow into a better leader. There’s no need to be threatened by the development of outstanding people on your team. Help them succeed on your team so they’ll never consider moving on.
You now have a rubric for your own performance appraisal. With effective leadership, you are in a position to set the bar so you and your whole team (clients, vendors, virtual helpers) all end up winners.