All of us, at some point in our lives, have been put in leadership situations that required a lot of patience and responsibility. Whether as a manager at the local fast-food restaurant or as the CEO of a major corporation, all leaders share similar goals in getting the best results out of the people who work under them.
This can be a daunting task, especially for those who have not yet had a lot of experience taking on leadership roles. I’m sure all of us have had times where we lost our temper unnecessarily, or handled a situation poorly because we were having a bad day.
These things happen, but it’s what we pick up from these mistakes that defines how we are able to grow both as leaders and as followers.
I've had a lot of leadership experience in my 22 years. Some of my experiences were pretty successful, others not so much. I've learned a lot from these experiences, and I guess you can say that I haven’t really stopped learning.
Every day, whether through trial and error or leadership advice from experts in the field, I pick up a lot of new and exciting ways to empower the people around me, but that’s not to say that there aren't days when I wake up and wonder what the hell I’m doing.
You have a lot of these days when you work at a startup, but as uncertain as I am with what’s going to happen next, there are five leadership rules that I've always done my best to apply to my day-to-day dealings with other people.
These five rules have helped me become more successful at what I do:
Give Other People A Chance To Shine
The best leaders don’t hog the spotlight for themselves. They give those under them the chance to show off their skills because they know that other people’s success doesn't diminish their own.
They are generous with their praise and give credit where it’s due. These leaders respect the opinions of their subordinates, and are always ready to listen when someone suggests a different approach to doing things.
Bosses don’t always have the right answers, but they’re open to working with other people to find the best way forward. They don’t order other people around, but instead, they opt for a more collaborative approach to solving problems. At the end of the day, the best leaders are always looking out for their employees.
Take Responsibility When Things Go Wrong
The best leaders are the first ones to take responsibility when something goes wrong. Conversely, only inexperienced or bad leaders choose to take all the credit when things succeed and blame others when bad things happen.
Taking responsibility does not just mean admitting that you made a mistake; rather, it involves being accountable for the consequences of what happened and then doing your best to make things right.
A lot of people never realize that saying sorry is something coworkers never want to hear; it’s what you do afterward to show you’re sorry that makes all the difference.
Be Humble And Understated
Great leaders don’t need to show off through their words; they do it through their actions. Neither do they need to parade their accomplishments around like it’s a big deal.
Instead, they focus on their work because it’s what they’re passionate about. The best leaders are humble because they operate on the mindset that they still have a lot more to learn and a lot more to do to get better. They’re often too focused on their work to actually care about how other people look at them.
Challenge Yourself And Your Team To Achieve Sustained Results
Great leaders are humble and unassuming, but when it comes to making decisions and achieving results, they’re relentless in their pursuit for excellence. They are also decisive once they come to a chosen course of action, and they don’t look back.
They push people to achieve because they believe that there is potential for greatness in each and every person they work with. They are methodical with their work, and regularly check in with their team to see if goals are being met. Finally, they strive not just to be better, but to be consistently better than their competitors.
Put the Company’s Ambitions Ahead Of Your Own
Finally, the best leaders are ambitious, but they will always put the company’s needs ahead of their own. They will never push others down to make themselves look better. Rather, they'll work with people to build something great together.
They can easily set aside their own needs if it means building a sustainable company -- one that will continue to grow and thrive long after they've moved on.
Photo credit: Wolf Of Wall St