Everyone is talking about leadership. There are hundreds of articles and millions of quotes. Quotes from Sir Richard Branson and Barack Obama. Quotes from Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and Marc Cuban.
I spend a lot of time thinking about leadership, and what it means. Recently, at the bottom of one of my articles, I asked readers to write me about their definition of this topic, and what makes a good leader, great.
I received many messages, and enjoyed them all. I realized that leadership comes from a variety of people, in an array of industries. Here are some quotes from real people that are leading teams. You don’t have to be the president of the United States to lead. The following are some of the most important areas of leadership from the messages I received from you. Thanks to everyone who wrote in.
On Motivation: Washington Carrato, Owner of The Man Van said, “Being a great leader is all about timing and knowledge. A good leader knows when to criticize when to praise when to encourage, and when to demand more from their team. Being a leader does not mean working in isolation. Nobody knows the answer to every problem, and it is essential to understand your shortcomings, and consistently learn and develop. A good leader will seek out a mentor to learn from and bounce ideas off.”
On A Team’s Role And Leadership: Charles Crawford, CEO of Crawford and O’Brien & Keeva Organics, said “A great leader knows how to pick the best players for the team and coordinate them to work together and focus on their strengths so the team is one powerful unit, just like how the Spartans, SWAT teams and any other elite military force attacks and wins battles.”
On Time Management: Mike Slavin, CEO of Wealthstake Inc said, “Leadership, broken down to its three most basic elements, is providing clear direction, securing the appropriate resources (whether human, monetary, or other), and applying force at the correct times.”
On The Impetus: Max L Fuller, CEO of Express Truck Driving Jobs, told me “Strong leadership is important in sticking to your brand’s values and purporting an image to the public. However, a strong internal leadership is also vital in strengthening a business’s’ core. It is crucial for the leader of a company to demonstrate acts of goodwill without reciprocation towards their associates or clients. In doing so, clients and employees alike see that a company’s prosperity is not only for its own gain, but something extended towards those who have helped a company achieve such goals. In the trucking industry, many organizations and companies rely on a genuine system of Good Samaritan efforts – helping those out when you are doing well knowing that the act of good faith will be returned. Something as simple as communicating with an associate to better understand their brand is many times just as meaningful as something fiscally related. Through this, employees will visualize how to use their available resources to extend gestures to valued clients when they have the opportunity to do so.”
On Flexibility Leadership: Izhok Chernyak, Founder of Best Advisor, said “A good leader is flexible in their approach and capable of inspiring, empowering and motivating their team to achieve maximum productivity. Great leaders have excellent communication skills and will alter their leadership methods to suit each situation, leading by example on a daily basis. Nobody knows everything, and so a good leader will listen to advice and input from their team members, thus encouraging growth and development. A little praise goes a long way towards maintaining morale, and the majority of employees will take great pride in being recognized by their boss.”
On The Importance Of Listening: “When it comes to being a first class leader, one of the most important things to remember is to listen to your team. So many leaders are convinced that strong leadership requires brilliant oratory, and that is certainly true in some cases. But listening is one of the most underused and undervalued traits of a good leader. Without listening it is impossible to truly understand what your team requires, and this in turn then causes a potentially catastrophic breakdown in communication. There is a reason when you have two ears, and one mouth and a great leader recognizes this,” Andri Kawel, CEO of Forex Trading News, told me.
On Thinking Different: Matt Gordon, CEO of Josco Energy, told me that “Leadership is about being ahead of the curve and looking forward. A good example of this is when Steve Jobs invented the iPods and iPhones. In 2017 the iPhone is still one of the most popular consumer products and a testament to the brilliance of Steve Jobs and Apple. I think as leaders if we use this type of forward thinking, it could contribute to our successes.”
On F.I.G.R. – Find, Inspire, Guide And Reward: Sameer Panjwani, CEO of Mondovo, shared this cool concept with me. “This F.I.G.R. principle is something I have discovered for myself to be a very important part of how I should be a leader in my business. There have been times where there’s been too much work to do and have felt overwhelmed at how I would accomplish so much in so little time. However, I’ve realized over my many years in business that I don’t need to do everything myself. In fact, I have learned to believe that a true leader should just “find the best people to do those things”, “inspire them by giving them reason to do that thing for you”, “guide them into doing it in the best way they can” and if the output is as desired, “recognize and/or reward” them for their achievement. So it’s something I try to remember and live by in my day-to-day business.”
On Being A Visionary And Doing the Work: “Leadership can’t be taught, it can only be learned through hard-earned experience. You can read all of the leadership books that you like, but it’s not until you try to lead other people that you truly start learning,” said David Costas, CEO of Reverse Mortgage Alert.
On Team Management: “Personnel Management is the art of getting the best out of your staff. To do this, make sure that they know that they are appreciated; confirm that they ‘own’ their job; consult and agree with them on the best way to do the job; support them in their subsequent endeavors; and importantly, reward them appropriately, according to their efforts – literally show how much you value them. This approach demonstrates that you are interested in them and their work. Take care of your staff, and the vast majority of times they will respond very positively to your efforts, with their own,” said Frank Iwanowski, CEO of Celebrity Net Worths.
On The Power Of Positive Reinforcement: Finally, “Good leadership revolves around the power of positive reinforcement. All too often, managers focus on criticizing the mistakes their staff make, rather than praising the positives. A good leader understands the benefits of positive reinforcement, constantly encouraging their staff, which in turn can drastically increase productivity. Be demonstrating good leadership, and words of encouragement, a good leader can nurture and transform a staff member into a positive and important team member,” Robert Moore, CEO of Loan Cheetah told me.
I can read books about leadership and watch motivational videos. But I thought it would be more helpful to share these lessons with you from people that are doing the work, that are in the trenches, that are actually leading.
I hope you find a real life leadership lesson to apply to 2017, as well.
If you have a story you think could help us all make 2017 the best year yet, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Brian Rashid from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.