Steve Jobs is the flag bearer for the CEOs of our generation.
Many leaders are nasty towards their employees. And they justify it by quoting how Mr. Jobs yelled and told his staff that they “sucked.”
I think this is absolutely the wrong way and much against my core beliefs.
An exceptional leader inspires people to work relentlessly and extracts their creative energies.
We all crave validation; it’s a biological need.
Here are the five leadership qualities to make you more effective and successful.
1. Emotional Intelligence
We live in a world obsessed with data, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Sometimes though the rational thinking mind freezes, and the reptile brain takes over. In such instances, your might make fear-based decisions. It happens even with the most talented and intelligent people of the world.
So what’s the fix?
My friend Corey Blake did a terrific TEDx talk on how Vulnerability is Sexy and can make the other person feel as an equal.
See, you can’t just consider your employees as a project resource. The human bridge between you and them is emotions.
You need to put yourself in their shoes. Start with small gestures to show them that you care. Acknowledge their feelings and lead with love even during challenging times. Empathy can make your working environment tremendously conducive.
2. Compelling Vision
Jack Ma regularly gets dozens of new, exciting ideas to implement in his business – some his own; while others by his employees.
So how does he remain sane?
By running every idea through a simple filter: “Does this make doing business easier?”
Even Facebook had a single goal during the early stages of the company. For all the suggestions, Mark Zuckerberg had the same question: “Does it help us grow?”
Such simple sounding phrases are called Vision Statements. I have written a detailed case study on them. They can bring immense clarity and relentless focus in your business decisions.
I recommend you to draft an ambitious Vision Statement for your organization. You also need to ensure that everyone in your company subscribes to it.
The tactical everyday aspects will become smoother when your employees see a challenging bigger picture. Remember, people take action because of ‘the why’ – give them a compelling one.
One effective method to keep your employees engaged is by aligning their egotistical goals with your companies’ larger goal.
3. Aggressive Action Taking
Even after drafting the best plan, your predictions can go haywire in the real-world. During many critical business junctures, you won’t even find complete information to choose the right course.
In such cases, you will have to trust your instincts.
In a recent letter to the shareholders, Jeff Bezos mentioned that they take action with around 70% of information at hand. Waiting more can mean that you’re slow – especially in the fast-paced online businesses like eCommerce.
4. Effective Communication
A slight miscommunication can go downhill and drop your employee morale. However, if you regularly meet and interact with your employees, then you keep them engaged and motivated.
You can address their concerns and remind them of their responsibilities. Even if there’s a conflict, you can resolve it peacefully. I like what my father said on this, “If you have to yell, then your argument is weak.”
Also, while communicating, choose your words carefully. Be specific, elegant, and leave no room for doubt. Encourage your team to share their ideas and give feedback on how you can improve.
At MaxCDN, we used internal newsletters to keep people informed. Also, every month we had town hall meetings that would end with a round of open questions.
5. Pass on the bait
It’s important to reiterate your Vision and make the employees believe that they are important to your organization.
Remind them of the impact they are creating. And give them the liberty to experiment. Inculcating a sense of ownership can lead to innovative products. For example, Gmail wasn’t an officially sanctioned product. Rather, it was a side-project by employees that has now become a huge success.
Amidst encouraging your employees to start their own projects, tell them to remain customer-centric in their thinking: successful businesses keep their clients at the center of everything.
Take it from Amazon. Their Vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.
In today’s world, where every second person is an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to set yourself apart.
How many of the above-mentioned effective leadership qualities do you possess? Let me know in the comments below.