Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to have worked for some of the industries most inspiring leaders who showed me the core foundations of true leadership and what it actually means to be a strong, inspiring leader. Unlike management, leadership cannot be taught, although it may be learned and enhanced through coaching or mentoring.
During the early days of Samuel Knight it became clear quite quickly that I needed a strong team of leaders in place if I was going to achieve above the norm and create a company that collectively we could all be proud of... and to this day I’m proud to say that I’ve surrounded myself with some of the best talent in the market who I myself am inspired by everyday..
Recently, Business Daily asked me to explain what leadership meant to me and Samuel Knight International to which I outlined 11 key rules of leadership myself and the management team follow everyday.
- The pursuit of bettering your environment "There is no one-size-fits-all approach, or formula to leadership. Leadership should be the humble, authentic expression of your unique personality in pursuit of bettering whatever environment you are in.
- Knowing your team and yourself well "To me, leadership is about playing to strengths and addressing weaknesses in the most productive and efficient way possible. It's about knowing your team and yourself, and doing your best job to set both up for success.
- Giving people the tools to succeed "Leadership is serving the people that work for you by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Your workers should be looking forward and not backwards, over their shoulders, at you. It also means genuine praise for what goes well and leading by taking responsibility early and immediately if things go bad.
- Open, authentic and positive influence "Leadership comes from influence, and influence can come from anyone at any level and in any role. Being open and authentic, helping to lift others up and working toward a common mission, build influence. True leadership comes when those around you are influenced by you in a positive way.
- Clarity, confidence and courage "A leader is someone who has the clarity to know the right things to do, the confidence to know when he or she's wrong, and the courage to do the right things even when they're hard.
- Building consensus and common goals "Leadership styles differ, but at the core, good leaders make the people they are leading accomplish more than they otherwise would. The most effective leaders do this not through fear, intimidation or title, but rather by building consensus around a common goal.
- Being the solution to problems "Leadership is the ability to see a problem and be the solution. So many people are willing to talk about problems or can even empathize, but not many can see the problem or challenge and rise to it. It takes a leader to truly see a problem as a challenge and want to drive toward it.
- Helping others achieve the impossible "Leadership is the ability to help people achieve things they don't think are possible. Leaders are coaches with a passion for developing people, not players; they get satisfaction from achieving objects through others. Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled.
- Building the next generation of leaders "A leader is someone who builds their team, mentors them and then advocates for them. A leader develops the talent around them to be more successful than he or she is.
- Building followership "Being a leader means building followship. Your primary responsibility is how you can inspire those around you to support a larger agenda under your direction and vision. You have to prioritise communications and development of others. Your job is no longer about what you can accomplish, but what your entire team can achieve. Good leaders focus on 'we' not 'me.
- Actively listening "In my experience, leadership is about three things: to listen, to inspire and to empower. Over the years, I've tried to learn to do a much better job of listening actively — making sure I really understand the other person's point of view, learning from them, and using that basis of trust and collaboration to inspire and empower.
Every leader has his or her own style and strategy. Further, their leadership styles and methods will vary because they are influenced by multiple factors — the modern challenges all business leaders face today coupled with predicaments specific to their company, company size and the industry in which the business is based.
By simply implementing the following it allowed me to create one of the best leadership teams I've ever had the privilege of working with.
It's now down to you to create your #NextGenerationOfLeaders