One of my first ever boss’ name is Gert, he is a great leader who taught me many useful lessons. As an ambitious and rumbustious salesperson, I remember announcing my desire to be a leader; somewhat tongue in cheek, Gert replied ‘be careful what you wish for!’ Twenty years later, my thirst for helping people realize their full potential remains unquenched. Being a so-called leader comes with huge responsibility, and below are some of the lessons I have learned along the way, as expressed by Clive Woodward in The Sunday Times (UK – 2005).
- Passion is all. No manager will succeed without it
If you’re ambitious, don’t stay in a job just for the money or status. You will never excel unless you do what you want to do rather than what you feel you ought to do.
- Achieve success through setbacks, and build on success
Work hard to learn the lessons of victory and success. Don’t dwell on failure. Focus on the positive.
- Only hire those who pass the 24-hour plane journey test
To maintain your level of enjoyment, you need the right people around you. When you recruit, don’t just look at a resume. Would you want that person with you day in, day out, for years?
- Remove all energy sappers
Too much nonsense is written about motivation. You need to get the right people, all of them committed to achieve. If there are those who don’t share that commitment, move swiftly to turn them around. If their attitude doesn’t improve, get them out before the entire working atmosphere is tainted irreparably.
- Establish “teamship” rules at the outset
When you start managing any team of people, sit down with them and thrash out a set of standards and rules by which everyone has to abide. Once you get this buy-in, everyone can concentrate on moving the business forward without fear of disruption.
- Make use of creativity of everyone in your organization
Intelligence and fresh thinking are not the preserve of senior executives and MBA graduates. If you neglect to consult the grass roots, you might lose out on ideas that could change your business.
- For a fresh view, go outside your industry
People who work in the same industry tend to end up thinking the same. If you genuinely want new ideas, remember to consult people you respect who have never worked in your industry.
- Never follow tradition for it’s own sake
“That’s the way we do things here.” You’re not ever going to beat the competition with that sort of complacency. Look at absolutely everything your team or company does and then ask yourself honestly, should we really still do it this way?
- Don’t neglect any detail. It could make all the difference
Competition can be fierce. What then differentiates the best from the also-rans? It’s those one percents, the critical non-essentials
- If you show faith in individuals, they will repay you
People will generally respond to a manager who says that he believes in them and is prepared to work with them over the long-term to capitalize on their strengths.
- For every action, there is a reaction – always establish the root of a problem
Don’t jump in head first to attack problems in individual or team performance. What you are seeing are the symptoms. You constantly need to ask why something is happening and then address that.