Many would say to be a great leader, you need to be cut-throat, make deals left and right, move quickly and sell well. As a leader of my own company, and integral to several others, I’ve often contemplated this same question.
I think we may see greatness at times in leaders as more Machiavellian, but the companies that really make it in the world are leaders in a different, much more subtle and genuine way. Simon Sinek sums it up nicely in “The Infinite Game”: “To ask, ‘What’s best for me?’ is finite thinking. To ask, ‘What’s best for us?’ is infinite thinking.”
So, what are the qualities of a good leader? Are they innate, or can you develop them?
The ability to make the RIGHT deal or decision
Waiting to make the right decision takes determination, research, gut feeling, and courage -- more courage and commitment than someone who makes a deal with the first answer that comes across their path. This requires a much more powerful leader than one who seems to be making deals all the time. A good leader is patient, and can evaluate the situation clearly.
Rigidity versus flexibility
In the business world, those who are rigid decision-makers may seem to always make the right decisions. However, if you aren’t flexible, your business can be completely disrupted and left in the dust.
For example, some small businesses wanted to only meet in-person, and missed the advantage to launch digital versions of their product, store or services. Now, we see many businesses flocking haphazardly to a virtual-only approach in order to save their business. It’s clear that creativity is good in the business world.
Being able to take advantage of many different views of your product or service doesn’t always make you “distracted” as a business owner. If you have a back up plan that’s already been tried, and then a severe disaster happens that causes your business to need to be online only, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Adversely, if you have an online business and something changes in the world (think about if the internet goes down for an extended period of time) and you aren’t prepared to sell your product face to face, your company will easily be left behind.
The right kind of negotiator
Negotiation to me means finding a solution to the client’s problem in a win-win scenario. Anything less than a win-win is a loss for GBS. We are committing to seeing small businesses improve reach, processes, innovations, streamlining and more.
Everything we do at GBS is geared towards helping to serve our clients. When meeting with a client, I love to hear about what’s going on and find myself saying, have you thought about this? What if we do something this way?
Putting the best team together
It’s difficult to build a talented team. As a leader, you’ll need to be able to delegate and strategize. That’s hard when you don’t trust the people working for and with you! A good leader can see the team's skills and talents, and identify the best projects for them.
One of my favorite quotes is by Michael Jordan: "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." The best leader doesn’t have to know every detail of each part. They just need to know they have the right person that does. Trust goes a long way here, as well. Getting to know the members of your team, what projects they like to do, what projects they wish you’d give to someone else. Think A-Team -- “I love it when a plan comes together.”
Communication and synergy
These are essential to achieving success. Short meetings where goals are made, roadblocks are discussed, and the leader steps out of solving the problem to ask AND hear how the team would solve it leads to cross-functional solutions. GBS has adapted SCRUM methodology in our team planning and integrated it in our project boards with our clients, too.
Heart and vision
Never giving up doesn’t mean never changing. Thomas Edision didn’t give up just because he created light in a different way; he committed to solving the problem, and open to finding hundreds of different ways it could be solved. Heart helps because, if you don’t really care about the product or service you are selling, or the way you do business, people you lead can tell. You can’t hold on through the ups and downs of business without passion.
How can you grow your leadership skills and your business? Let us help you get on the right track, or get started. Your first consultation with GBS is free. Schedule a virtual appointment here.