6 Often Ignored Secrets of Successful Leaders
It is said that leaders can make or break a company. They are responsible for keeping all the members of an organization on their feet at all times. They do this while still instilling a sense of safety. It is a tough line to walk but great leaders like Howard Schultz (Starbucks’ CEO) and Warren Bennis manage to do it quite well. People, especially budding leaders, think that leadership is something that a person is born with. While this might not be completely untrue, the life of a leader is also about learning and growth.
The following points discuss six secrets of great leaders that everyone can benefit from.
Successful Leaders Understand That Kindness Is a Virtue –
People tend to confuse kindness with weakness. This is because they think that if they are kind to their members, it would be confused with lack of character. However, kindness, when displayed honestly, can be the strongest statement a leader makes.
A kind word offered with genuine admiration and care can be better that most motivational strategies. For instance, Schultz’s $250 million investment in the higher education of Starbucks employees is an act of genuine kindness. It was aimed at making the life of his people better and much more fruitful.
Successful Leaders Forgo Harshness and Adopt Strength –
Being harsh, rude and dominating is not the same as inherent strength. The former would push team members away and would scare people into following a leader. But, it wouldn’t last for long.
However, true strength of character would earn the respect and trust of people, convincing them of a leader’s greatness. This kind of strength also inspires confidence when the times aren’t good. Leaders who are just harsh would only find support during good times and will be left alone later. Leaders who understand the difference between strength and harshness are always successful.
Successful Leaders Value Confidence over Arrogance –
Every person has something, some talent or some feature that makes them unique. When they hone that skill, they can be experts at it. A leader, more than anyone else, has a lot of such qualities but a lot depends on how the leader measures those qualities.
A leader who thinks less of the qualities would be under-confident. A leader who overestimates the extent of those qualities moves in the category of arrogance. A leader who understands the true worth of those qualities meets with success. Such a leader also expects the same from team members.
Successful Leaders Are Realistically Optimistic –
It is extremely difficult to balance positivity and optimism with a realistic attitude. A pessimistic leader would stop being effective the moment times are bad. An overly optimistic leader would simply sit back and hope luck to turn back the tide. However, a realistic leader who is optimistic would read the situation and adjust future plans.
This is the kind of dynamism that leaders need to display. It can not only help to deal with troubles but will also help with morale. In order to move forward, a good balance of realistic and optimistic attitudes is needed.
Successful Leaders Walk Their Talk –
A great part of a leader’s life involves talking. There comes a point, however, when the talk needs to be converted into action. For instance, if a leader says that service is important, they need to show it.
There was a rumor that Howard Schultz would be running for President. However, he squashed those rumors, saying that he was yet to give his all to Starbucks. This proved to his employees that he was a leader who valued service over all else. He was not interested in limelight. He just wanted to work and earn his people’s trust.
Successful Leaders Act as a Buffer Between Their People And The World –
There is no company in the world that has not faced turbulent times. Organizations that have come out with minimum damage from such times did so because of great leaders. There are critics everywhere. On top of that, the world is ever changing and dynamic.
The leader’s primary job is to act as a buffer between the people and the rest of the world. The leader needs to absorb all the shocks so that people can work without any worry on their mind. At the same time, when tough talks are needed, the leader should be able to deliver that.
If the above features are included in a budding leader’s arsenal, they could become unstoppable. These tips have been put together by studying great leaders and understanding their behavior. However, they are not the last word. This is because every leader learns different things from experience. Thus, these tips should be inculcated after taking personal experiences into account. Understanding what works and what doesn’t should be the most important factor in the life of a leader.
Hopefully, this article was informative.
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