In the business world, ‘good’ just isn’t good enough anymore. The landscape is too competitive for your success to hinge on mediocracy. A good business can make you money, but it won’t establish you as a leader in your industry. A good employee can keep the ship afloat, but you can’t expect them to spark innovation within your organisation. A good leader can lead, but they lack the ability to influence greatness in themselves, their employees, and their industries.
Don’t settle for being a good leader: strive to be great. You can read as many books and articles as you can find, attend as many leadership development programs that money can buy, and you can seek advice and guidance through one (or more) mentors, but great leadership, first and foremost, comes from within. To understand if you approach leading from the right frame of mind, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Is your inner dialogue filled with ‘shoulds’?
If they’re doing that, should I? It might not seem like it, but ‘should’ can be a very dangerous word in our vocabularies. It typically stems from us second-guessing ourselves, or trying to live up to other people’s expectations of us. But confident and inspiring leaders don’t abide by what they feel like they should be doing and, instead, define their own style based on what they want to achieve and what they want others around them to achieve. Stop trying to impress others. Stop living in fear that you need to get it right all the time. This doesn’t make you a great leader, it makes you a leader who has been molded by all the wrong factors.
2. Do you take responsibility for every single one of your actions?
Above, I mentioned that leaders need to stop living in fear that they might not always get it right. If you want to be a better leader, you need to accept failure. It’s an inevitable part of the job. When you do make mistakes, it’s important that you own up to them. They are learning opportunities, and if you are constantly putting the consequences of your choices on the shoulders of everyone around you, you will never evolve. Instead, you’ll be the leader no one wants to work for.
3. Where do you find purpose?
If you don’t know what drives you, you won’t be able to bring value to your company. Figure out what gives you purpose; when aligned with the goals you want to meet, your influence will be unstoppable. This will be evident in the growth of your company, and it will also be obvious in the culture you build within your organisation.
4. Do you let challenges limit your potential?
You can’t have success without challenges. Work would be a much happier place if there were no challenges and roadblocks getting in the way. But then again, if there were no challenges, there would be no opportunities for growth. Great leaders embrace challenges because they know that good things await them on the other side.