I’m writing this blog from Vegas because I'm attending a two-day mastermind later in the week. A part of my sanity for being able to run my business and do all the things I do is having a little bit of an escape. So this week, I get to be here by myself until my friend arrives who is going to the mastermind with me. That is one thing for leadership success is to have some downtime.
I've been coaching a couple of clients this week who have a lot of heaviness in their lives. I think good leaders know when they're overwhelmed. Good leaders know when they need to just take some downtime, and I needed that, which is why I'm here.
I asked the following question to my Dynamic Women Global Community: “What are some key leadership skills you believe are crucial for success in the business world?” There were a lot of different answers. I know there are so many books on leadership skills, how to win as a leader, how to do servant leadership, types of leadership, and many more, but let's focus on what some of the women in my online community have said.
Robyn said, “Flexibility” as a leader. Now, I have met some people who have been inflexible and they come across as a control freak. If you are controlling with your company and the people you work with, they're going to stop giving you their ideas, they’re not going to chime in, and they're not going to want to work with you for very long. You’ll find yourself losing staff if you can't be flexible in your opinion or flexible in how you run the business.
Plus when leaders go for goals, if you're not flexible in how you reach that goal in the timeline, there's a chance you're not going to be reaching your goals at all. Flexibility in relation to others’ ideas, your timelines, your goals, and how things are executed is really important.
2. Managing Expectations
Deborah said, “managing expectations”. There are a lot of expectations in business.
That's not even mentioning the expectations of society on you. People who don't even pay your bills or aren't engaged with you at all who are deciding that they have an opinion on what you should do.
Let's talk about managing your own expectations. Things don't always go as planned, you've heard that before. But…
A lot of times before things happen, I will have myself and others talk about what their intentions are for something or what they would like to happen in a specific situation, goal, or event. The reason for that is, if you have an idea of how it will be, that's your expectation of how it will be. Asking others what the intention is helps everyone to be either on the same page or at least respectful of other people's expectations.
Now, overpromising is not necessarily a good thing in business. What I rather do is underpromise and overdeliver. That way, the clients and the customers will have specific expectations, and then you go above it. If you have a really high promise and you're not truthful about it, you're definitely not going to be able to honor your client or customers' expectations.
Then, your company or employees have specific expectations. I can remember my husband in one of his jobs, basically just getting a gift pass to use for services at his company; however, it wasn’t even for him to use, but for him to give a friend. That was a terrible Christmas bonus that was not well received. There were expectations for things to continue on as they had been done years before with gift cards to restaurants and things changed and so a lot of the staff were very upset with what ended up happening that Christmas.
3. Encourage others to shine
Lisa shared about “encouraging others to shine”, so they can lead too. This makes me think of the synergy piece of geese flying in a “V”. When you have someone flying in the lead being your leader, it is important to encourage them. That’s why the geese honk because that leader has an important, yet hard job to do.
We need to encourage them to lead when they're there with positive reinforcement, acknowledgments, and cheer them on. But it’s also important to have the leader move out of the way so others can step in by giving them specific roles, specific tasks, where they get to make the decisions and use their talents and skills to shine and have a great outcome.
By doing this, the whole group moves up, and the culture, the skills, and the confidence of everyone can rise by each individual getting their own chance to lead, their own chance to shine. It's really beneficial for your customers and your clients when there's a higher level of talent and confidence in the whole team.
4. Be humble
Paula’s input about a good leader is, “The ability to be humble, to consider not oneself as the crucial or critical link to success, but to enable others to develop their unique skills which will contribute to the success of the whole.”
Leaders, don't think that they’re the reason why the success happened. You led the success, yes, but if you’re too much of a crucial link, your business cannot go far because you are far too important for its success and it won’t succeed without you. Because what's going to happen is, you are the cog in the wheel. You are the one holding things up. If you are sick, does the ship go under?
I love that Paula is mentioning the ability to be humble. One of the very successful members of CAPS (The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers), Tom Stoyan, teaches this program every year on referrals and leveraging your unfair advantage. He's teaching sales skills. In his course, and after decades of being in the sales industry, after so much success, financial as well as compliments from his clients, he still asks in the training that he's providing, “Would it be helpful if I shared that with you? Would it be helpful if I gave you some ideas? Will it be helpful if I give you some feedback?”
Rather than other people who've just said, “Well, Diane, you need to do this. And this is your problem.” He comes across in such a humble way by modeling it in his actions which taught me and so I use that all the time. That has helped me to tone down in my confidence level as a leader, and so I really appreciated that.
5. Positive Leadership
Lindy said, “Joy-based leadership”. I'm not sure which way Lindy meant this, but what I see is a leader being positive, optimistic, and happy. I hire a lot of virtual assistants from the Philippines and what I hear from them the most is that they were in a toxic work environment where their boss yelled, where their boss was cutting employees down, and embarrassing them in front of others. I've also heard stories of a boss that didn't believe in the direction the team was going, and so negativity is not the way to do it.
The leader needs to show the vision for the whole team sharing, “This is where we're going, and we can do it”, and to provide that hope. I don't know how many times as a captain of a team, we're in a final against a team that is far better than us or who has fewer injuries than us and I had to be the positive one. If everyone on my team thinks that they're going to win I have to, for the sake of my team, believe that we can win. Sometimes I did it. But I had to be in that place of, as Lindy said, joy, optimism, or positivity saying, “Come on, guys, we can do this!” Because that elevates everyone and really, the leader sets the tone for the culture of everyone. If you're a negative leader, there's going to be a lot of negativity in your culture.
6. Lead by example
Jackie shared, “Lead by example, if you aren't showing the way, why would others follow?” I also want to put in there around servant leadership, not to say that the leader serves everyone, but the idea that no job is beneath them and that they will get in there with others.
This is where we as leaders need to check in on ourselves. Where can we improve? Sometimes that might be by doing a 360 feedback survey with people in our lives, people at our work, to see if we're actually stepping into that role that is best for the company. If you have never done a 360 feedback survey, what happens is you send out a survey to a bunch of people you trust, who you think will give you straight answers, maybe some people who really know you well, and some people who don't know you as well, both personally, professionally in the past and current. Then you go through that feedback after all the questions are answered, and you get some really great insights.
This is something I do for my clients because it kind of is awkward to send this out yourself and then I can provide a filter for the answers, and we talk through the different responses. If you want to know more about doing that or if you're just like, “Let's just do a Diane”, send my team an email at email@example.com and say you want to do a 360 survey.
7. Empathy, diplomacy and integrity
Rita added in a few, “Humility, empathy, diplomacy, and integrity. Demonstrate consistency between words and actions. Be an encouragement to others. Be joyful.”
I’ll go through a bunch of them starting with empathy because it stands out to me. Stuff happens in people's lives. Sometimes there are deaths. There are mental struggles, and there are people not being able to be at their full capacity. Having empathy for your staff and also empathy for clients is important. We're all just people trying to live this life, and not everyone is running on full cylinders 100% of the time. That also means that the leader needs to be empathetic to themselves, to honor where they're at or what they need.
Then that comes into diplomacy, and I want to take it from the angle of equality and treating everyone similarly. Not having favorites, trying to bring everyone up equally. I found that being certainly A-type and strong in school and in a lot of the things I do, I often got overlooked. I never got the extra help or support or encouragement because “Oh Diane's good”. Well, I think that in your workplace, even the people that don't need a lot of support and help, you still need to give them acknowledgement and cheer them on and encourage them and challenge them too.
Then integrity. You need to run your business with integrity if you want to have a long-term business because as soon as you start messing with integrity, your staff and your employees, they’re going to see that and it’s going to allow them to not be in integrity when they work for you. Then your business won't be running on integrity. There'll be stuff that is happening that is not best business practices, and then it'll be trickling down to your clients.
These are all the things that people in my Dynamic Women Global Community Facebook group said are important leadership skills to have success in business. Do you agree? Did they miss some? Let me know. Share this with a friend who is a leader and see their opinion as well!
P.S. Feeling too busy to be the leader you want to be? Grab your “Top 5 Tasks Busy Business Owners Should Pass Off Immediately” Guide.
Read my other blogs here:
Get Goaled! Coaching Mastermind
Connect with me