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This blog is provided by Angeline Licerio, as a companion to the interview with Greg Moran, titled Evolving Leadership to Navigate Significant Disruption on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future that aired on August 18th, 2020.
Building your own brand and establishing yourself as a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of preparation, trial and error, sweat, and determination. It’s like an on-the-job-training where you put all your resources, time, and energy. Some seek mentors to avoid the pitfalls along the way. But even if you don’t have an expert guiding you as you make your way to the top, self-mentoring and heeding the leadership lessons of successful business owners will help your business thrive.
We rounded up 10 great leadership lessons for you:
- Knowing your ‘why’ offers a good start.
No matter what you are selling, you should make it your proof of mission. Your brand is your statement, while your ’why’ sets the company culture where everyone lives up to the values of the business. Apple, for instance, does not just sell gadgets, iPhones, and laptops. They are selling a vision, and people continue to buy their products because they believe in their advocacy.
- Setting the tone of leadership is critical.
Regardless of how good your brand is or how skillful your workers are, you are the force that will set the course of your business. Even if you have many hats to wear during the initial stage of your business, it is vital for you to be the leader first. You must make decisions and lay down the guidelines to keep everything in balance. Leadership coach and consultant Kristi Hedges of ‘The Hedges Company’ said that leaders should be happy and motivated in their roles to avoid hurting the whole organization.
- Hiring employees with superior skills is a must.
Alibaba CEO and co-founder Jack Ma advises new entrepreneurs to hire people who will be significant assets in the business. By hiring men and women with superior skills, your focus is to lead your high performing team with excellence. As the leader of the pack, you need to create a winning team. Your team is your sustainable advantage because they are the first ones who will help build, support, and sell your ideas and products. There is no room for mediocrity and excuses when you want to grow your business.
- Being ready to pivot counts.
Change is constant in business. Bill Gates once said, ‘do not allow yourself to be lulled into inaction.’ You should continually evolve with the changes to ensure growth opportunities and profitability for your business.
As a business owner and leader, you must act with urgency to rise to the challenge and have a positive mindset. The pandemic, in particular, has created uncertainty and a set of challenges that leaders need to address. You need to pivot to recover the loss and rebuild to keep up with the competitors. Even big businesses like Google, Amazon, and Apple have already embraced the ‘new normal’ philosophy.
- Learning from mistakes is key.
You always learn from your mistakes, but you extract wisdom when you learn from the mistakes of others. There are many TED talks, books, podcasts, and testimonies of successful people in the business that provide profound lessons. Learning from their stories will help you determine the ropes and avoid the same mistakes. Thought leader Tim Ferris gained his massive following because he applies and advocates great lessons from top performers. You can learn their secrets and modify them to fit your business principles.
- The team and customers’ feedback are essential.
Walmart founder Sam Walton shared that his best ideas came from stock boys and clerks. Listening to feedback is important to the success of the business. The insights help leaders when they are struggling or experiencing a setback. An effective leader talks less and listens more to people who genuinely care for the business. The byproducts of active listening will help you gauge the performance of the company. When listening becomes your daily habit, you will be seen as a true leader.
- Customers are not always right.
The philosophy that ‘the customer is always right’ is not always advantageous to your business. The right customers will buy your product or service because they need it. Those who demand you to tweak or modify it to cater to their needs can cost your business more than the revenue generated and it can alter the core features of your brand. Learn to say no and stick to what you do best.
- Being kind is good for business.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA and an investor on ‘Shark Tank’, is known for being a nice guy who is always willing to go above and beyond to make his fans feel appreciated. He believes that ‘being nice’ is vital to the success of any business. Promote respect, trust, and humility among your team to motivate them to make great things happen. When you are genuinely kind, they will rally behind you and support you all the way to the top.
- The best way isn’t always easy.
There is no shortcut to business success. No one opens his store today and gains back his capital next month. It goes through a process and levels of success. All entrepreneurs know that the easiest and shortest path is often not the best way. A solid business plan with a sound framework that is aligned with your values is important. In business, your personal integrity and your reputation are essential to attracting investors, customers, and peers. It is also necessary to be willing to work hard and dedicate your resources to keep going, especially during rough times.
- Appreciate by giving back.
At the end of the business day, you are part of a bigger community. Your success is mainly due to the people who trust your product and use your service. Giving back is a great way to show appreciation and attract more customers.
Choosing to practice all these leadership lessons will help your business thrive positively and hit your sales quotas. But the real measure of success for entrepreneurs is not always the profits, but making a difference in employees’ lives and contributing to the good of the bigger community.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
About the Author
Angeline Licerio is a content writer for Elevate Corporate Training. Like the rest of her teammates at Elevate, Angeline believes that she can help create better bottom lines, happier and healthier staff and build communities where people engage with each other in high functioning relationships.