The term ‘leadership’ is used very loosely in business – especially within the corporate world.
Unfortunately, as individuals rise within a company, they begin to display the symptoms of what I call ‘title-itis’.
This is when their job title and perceived ‘seniority’ obscure their natural senses and, basically, they become complete ego-driven ass-holes!
I have seen the same thing happen with many entrepreneurs and business owners, when they experience a level of success and allow their achievements to run away with them.
Sadly, this behaviour doesn’t discriminate with men and women, young and old, falling foul of this disease, once they have had a taste of power.
Since this way of being can be quite common in corporate culture, the personal ramifications of adopting such behaviours don’t seem unusual or so serious in the corporate world, as competition and egotism are rampant.
But for small business owners and start-ups, the adoption of such traits can have a dire effect on your business success and mental wellbeing.
There are better ways of being a leader!
Leadership isn’t about the display of power or imposing your will on others – in fact, it’s the opposite.
It’s about encouraging the very best from others, in a way that isn’t challenging or confrontational.
It’s the subtle art of inspiring others to look within themselves and recognise their own brilliance. That’s leadership!
Leaders need a greater understanding of this, even though impatience may be pushing us to do otherwise. It’s a responsibility that very few are prepared to carry, although we all have the means to do so.
What I would like to share with you are 5 mindset hacks for elite leadership that entrepreneurs must learn to become better leaders in their business.
1. Never look to be right
Many entrepreneurs don’t give this much thought, because it’s easier to continue in the way that they’ve always worked.
Some people think leadership means always being right, and they hate to admit they’re wrong.
But what are the benefits of being right? Other than feeding your own ego and reinforcing your governance – there are none!
Unfortunately, for you to be right, someone else has to be wrong.
And if, over a period of time, you continually push onto your employees the narrative that they are wrong, think what damage this does to their self-belief and confidence.
If you want to build a confident, self-reliant team who display great initiative, you have to become mindful of how mistakes and learning experiences are reflected upon.
If mistakes are made, or things don’t go the way you’d want them to, instead of asserting that you know better or that you’re right, reframe the lessons of each experience in a way that doesn’t make the other person ‘wrong’.
Confrontation will often cause friction, and you don’t want friction within your teams. You want a well-oiled operation where everything runs smoothly.
Always keep your outcome in mind, and don’t lose sight of this.
2. Be the example
To reach elite leadership status requires a high degree of commitment.
You are the one who has to set the bar and establish your expectations so that everyone else knows what to aim for and adhere to.
Make sure you walk the talk and provide a role model for others to follow.
If you adopt a slap-dash attitude, cut corners and produce sub-standard work, you cannot expect any more than this from your teams.
You set the standards and create the culture!
An attitude of “don’t do as I do; do as I say” doesn’t work.
And yet, I see so many entrepreneurs and managers alike become frustrated with their employees and staff because they expect their staff to deliver more than they are prepared to do, themselves.
It just doesn’t make any sense and isn’t a realistic expectation to have.
If you want your staff and teams to be perfect models of excellence, then you’d best believe that you have to set the standard and be excellent in what you do.
Culture starts from the top and trickles down; so, you must be the living example of what you want from your employees and teams.
3. Aim to inspire
Now, this hack deserves it own article – it’s so powerful!
Many entrepreneurs adopt the belief that they must motivate their employees and look at ways to keep employee motivation high.
But it’s my belief that if you have to motivate your team and apply external measures to get them going and keep them on-track, you have the wrong team!
Ideally, you want to build a company with an inspired team.
Being able to find the right employees who are aligned to your mission will take your business above and beyond normal success status. This is a game-changer!
Individuals who are inspired by a mission and a cause aligned with their own are naturally motivated to make a contribution to your company’s purpose.
Inspired employees will feel a sense of shared purpose and ownership in the business.
They will give their all, above and beyond, each and every day.
That’s your sweet spot.
4. Look to be better
One of my favourite quotes of all time is from the late, great, Jim Rohn, the godfather of personal development and transformation:
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”
The quote is self-explanatory, but in case you missed the message, let me elaborate.
As an entrepreneur, never shy away from challenges or adversity.
This is what you need, to equip you with the experience, skills and knowledge to become better. If life was plain sailing, what would we ever learn?
So, irrespective of what’s happening in your business – whether it’s nightmare employees, losing key clients or equipment breakdown.
Just know that it’s all necessary for you to become a better leader.
Regardless of the challenge you’re experiencing – in going through it and coming out of the other side, you have accumulated knowledge, insight, skills and experience that will ultimately make you a better leader and ensure a better outcome, next time around.
5. Man in the mirror
All too often, we blame situations, issues and conflicts on another person or thing, rather than taking responsibility ourselves.
Having a scapegoat or someone to blame makes life easier and tends to make us feel better about ourselves and the situation.
However, as I mentioned in my first insight, as an elite leader, your perspective has to be from a higher plane – and, at times, you have to do an uncomfortable thing, and look within.
Elite leadership requires an understanding that, in business and in your working relationships, it’s often not the problem that’s the problem, but your reaction to the problem.
As an elite leader, you are accountable for the situations you experience, both good and bad.
You have to take responsibility!
You also have to approach these situations from the perspective of curiosity – in exploring “what does this experience show me about me?”
So much growth can be achieved through the adoption of this mindset and its subsequent process.
This self-analytical approach will undoubtedly help you to become more mindful in how you interact with staff, clients and others on a daily basis.
It’s a huge opportunity for growth and will guide you towards a higher state of awareness that can only make you a better leader.
Leadership is not about dictating to others, or tightly controlling the way things are done.
Leadership is an artform, with a skillset to be employed judiciously.
So, to lead successfully, accept that you aren’t infallible – and refuse to set others up as ‘wrong’.
It’s not us and them. You’re in it, together.
Model the attitudes and behaviour you want others to replicate – and lead by example.
Harness inspiration by attracting and encouraging staff who share your company values and purpose, and will enact them with enthusiasm.
Accept that any experience provides feedback for future improvement – of your leadership, and your business success.
And finally, accept responsibility. Follow my 5 tips, and you’ll be a better business leader.
After all, the buck stops with you.