Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. – Nikola Tesla

How to be a great leader

To be a great leader you must make your intentions, actions and decisions about others, not yourself. You also need to provide needed resources and create a safe and relaxed environment. Additionally, you also need management skills to build on as all members of your team must be aware of the policies, rules, guidelines and responsibilities.

Finally, share responsibility, empower people, delegate authority and enable them to be challenged and demonstrate their value publicly. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Lack of leadership? Fill the void

If you happened to be on a team or in an organization where leadership is lacking to provide what’s necessary for staff to be successful not everything is lost. While your options are somewhat “limited” you can do some of the following:

  • you can accept your faith
  • complain, which won’t do you any good
  • leave (always an option)
  • or do something about it

If you have wisely selected the last option, you can start by find out what’s necessary and presently missing within your team; discover what motivates others and then leverage that to help them, motivate them and inspire them to greatness. Finally, selflessly share ideas, knowledge, collaborate and most importantly communicate. Try it, you’ll be amazed with the results.

Work ethic and pride in quality

Work ethic and pride in ones work seems to have be diminishing across various industries and market segments in recent years. Reasons for this nonchalant behavior and lack of work ethic, commitment and quality can and often do vary.

However, whatever they may be, it is up to leaders to perform full assessments (audits if you will) and determine these root causes and address them appropriately. Maybe the reasons lie within leadership as they haven’t provided motivation and much needed resources for employees to be effective; maybe it is lack of accountability; maybe it is ___________ [insert your reasons here].

Whatever they may be, they need to be addressed in one way or another as you owe it to others who are working hard to have fair and equitable standards that apply to all members of your team no matter how large or small it may be.

How to present ideas successfully

First concept to understand and keep in mind is that there are no functional projects or ideas. They all must contribute to the overall business success and should always be presented and implemented in that way. Additionally, you must know your audience; establish trust, familiarity and context with those you are presenting/pitching to and show them data (simple and visually appealing) supporting the business value you are interested in delivering.

Finally, once again, remember that there are no functional projects as everything we do must be in sync towards delivering exceptional business value to our clients and partners.

Don’t apologize for your opinions

Be authentic, transparent and most importantly, be who you are. Now, don’t confuse this with being confrontational or difficult for no apparent reason, what I actually refer to is sticking to your beliefs and opinions which are backed by facts, experience and values.

If you have seriously considered all options and alternatives and you have formed an educated opinion don’t change it simply because it may be unpopular at that point in time. Following the majority without thinking for yourself is definitely not the way one should live their professional or personal life.

In-person conversations

The lost art of in person conversations is now more valuable than ever. It is especially important and effective when you are trying to understand causes of issues and challenges and when you need to communicate vision, values and motivate people.

Take the necessary time and make the effort to meet with people to learn what makes them tick; what makes them think, act and behave in the way they do.

People matter the most

People matter the most and as such they should be the primary focus of every leader at every level in every organization. Attracting quality personnel to your team(s) is essential in order to be efficient, effective and competitive. Focus your search and positioning on quality over quantity, every single time.

While it is very important to have adequate resources (funding, equipment, technology, processes, policies…) needed to accomplish your vision, mission and operational responsibilities one will never be as successful and as effective without quality people that fit your team and your culture.

Vendors beware: cold calling is an art

Dear vendors, thank you for your products, services and great customer service, but please listen to what your (prospective) clients say and respect those answers.

I am aware of your need to meet your sales quotas, earn your bonuses and grow the business, but becoming a spammer or a telemarketer is not the way to go about it. Respect your clients and their time and work with them towards strategic partnerships as that will provide long term grown, retention and revenue to your business.

When hiring, trust your instincts

Trust your instincts at all times. They are here to protects, alert and warns us of what is happening around us and how we could and should react to potential opportunities or threats.

These instincts also come in very handy when building a team and hiring new staff. During this process focus a bit more on personal traits, character and qualities, and less on functional training and background. I say this as you can always train and teach someone what they needs to know functionally and operationally, while you impact on their personal values and credibility is minimal.

Clear responsibilities and structure

Individual responsibilities for each employee must be clearly communicated and understood by both sides, employee and supervisor. These responsibilities mush also be shared with the entire team as well as with other teams they regularly interact with. People need to know who does what and how they contribute to the entire team and the entire organizational mission, strategy and vision.

Additionally, organizational reporting structure must be clear and each employee/team can have only ONE direct supervisor. Having multiple supervisors can and often does create misalignment and uncomfortable and somewhat contentious situations which we should all avoid.