It doesn’t take a lot to be a boss. You can simply order people to do this, do that, and then it’s a wrap. To be a leader, however, is something entirely different. A boss bosses people around and a leader leads people to success.
Because of this, being a leader is often glorified. CEOs, chairpeople, presidents—these positions are often painted as a grand title that everyone should aspire to achieve. These are positions that deserve respect and credence indeed, but what makes those who can achieve them different? Can it be learned by the average folk like us? Definitely. All it takes is a change in mindset and a focus on self-improvement. Let’s take a look at how some people can achieve this
Patience is a virtue
“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs
Not everything will fall to plan immediately. There will be a time when it feels like you’re just waiting and waiting for something to happen. Even if you executed your plan really well, the effects may not come as soon as you’d like. This is where patience comes into play. Famous Tesla CEO, Elon Musk learned this the hard way. Telsa didn’t turn a profit until 10 years after its launch. Established in 2003, they experienced their first profitable quarter in 2013. 10 long years of hard work before their first profit, and yet they’re among the most popular companies now.
“I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers and that people flourish when they are praised” – Richard Branson
Everyone has different skills and abilities and understanding this is the key. Understand their strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks that play to their strengths. Not everyone can do what others can, and knowing what your people are good at will lead to more efficient workflow. This makes giving praise to your employees a lot easier, leading to them feeling more motivated and empowered. Being understanding also means respecting their failures. Specifically, why they fail. Perhaps your staff is going through a rough patch in their life and cannot perform at their one hundred percent. It makes little sense to push them to do more when they’re already at their limit.
“It is important for entrepreneurs to stay firm to what they believe in.” – Patrick Linden
If you falter from the slightest bit of resistance, then perhaps being a leader is not for you. Being resilient is necessary for you to achieve your goals, and for people to see you as a reliable figure. Resiliency means not letting failure get to you, but instead seeing failure as an opportunity to learn and try a different approach the next time around.
News report turned TV magnate Oprah Winfrey didn’t let being fired from her news reporter job put her down. Instead, she pressed on forward and established a really successful talk daytime talk show that millions all over the globe watched. Today everyone knows who Oprah is, and instead of working for a TV station, she owns one instead. Is there any better display of resiliency?
“Accountability breeds responsibility.” – Stephen R. Covey
Leaders are burdened with heavy responsibilities on their shoulders. Responsibilities that require technical skill, knowledge, a good sense of predicting what happens next, and a whole slew of other skills. Being responsible for your own role means fulfilling your duties to the best of your ability. But another aspect of taking responsibility that’s often overlooked is prioritizing responsibilities.
An interesting example of this is the chairman of SMRT stepping down to focus on other responsibilities. Instead of lamenting past mistakes and leaving his responsibilities altogether, Seah Moon Sing instead chooses to be accountable and solve problems.
“As long as there is a theme that can be challenged, that life is exciting.” – Masayoshi Kon
Challenges give color to our lives. While they may seem daunting and scary, if we have no challenges or struggles then life would be a colorless painting on a canvas. Learn to accept challenges, and as a matter of fact, learn to challenge yourself! People grow more when they are forced to go outside their comfort zone.
Lisa Su of AMD took on an interesting challenge: diversifying AMD’s otherwise monolithic sales. Before she became the CEO, AMD’s diversified sales were only at 10%. She was able to bring this up to 40% by challenging other sub-industries within the computer industry. Thanks to this, AMD’s market share rose drastically. Scary as it may sound, challenging yourself brings results.