6 Things All Successful Leaders Have In Common

Written by Jay McDonald on .

As leaders, we learn rather quickly that success demands capabilities. We need to be capable of making good decisions. We need to have the ability to respond quickly and accurately. But we also need to know how to deal effectively with people. There are many elements of great leadership and just as many philosophies for success, but recognizing the importance of people and leading responsively, with accountability, and in a genuine manner will always end in achievement. Here are a few key business philosophies every decision maker should embrace in order to be a strong and respected leader. No. 1: Recognizing That Great Organizations Are Built By Teams of People Despite what some people may believe, no organization is built on any one person. On the contrary, the best companies are built on a team of people that’s not only energized, but also empowered to do what they are capable of doing. Positivity is a huge element to this, as well as accountability. In general, people want to be held accountable, but they also want to be told that they’ve done a great job. High performers are high performers because they’ve been given the tools to succeed, and they want to be part of something bigger and better than themselves. They want to be part of a successful team.  No. 2: Allowing Trust to Define Your Leadership Style You simply cannot be an effective leader without giving and receiving trust. With trust comes respect, yet without it, people fail to approach one another with important information, new ideas fade away, innovation and creativity falters and organizational culture erodes. Trust is an important element of leadership that has proven to be crucial to my success in my business career as well as the careers of other executives I have coached.  No. 3: Holding Yourself Accountable I am not a fan of the dictatorial type leadership style, but the buck stops with the head person. As a leader, you need to be responsible enough to hold yourself accountable. Give praise when it is deserved and accept responsibility as opposed to blaming others. As is true with every leader, you will have your share of mistakes, but there is as much to be learned from error, as there is success. No. 4: Being Authentic Being a real human being is about being open, honest, and at times, vulnerable. People respect people who don’t mind acknowledging when they have made a mistake and can openly admit when they don’t have all the answers. Every leader should be authentic and empathetic, with a large dose of candor. No. 5: Listening…For Real To sincerely listen to what others have to say can be challenging at times. Yet it’s critical for people to know that you’re truly hearing what they’re saying, and more importantly, going to act on it. An open door policy is a good strategy. By letting people know what’s going on in the organization, what you’re doing well and how you’re keeping track, is all part of listening and providing feedback.  Your people are the best asset you have for giving you ideas on what you’re doing, operationally, technologically, with customers, products etc. When people feel empowered because they’re being listened to and respected – they deliver. No. 6: Life is a Contact Sport Whether we realize it or not, life is a contact sport and you never know at any one point in time, who you might meet, at every level in life. From the newspaper delivery boy, to the cashier at the grocery store, to the CEO down the street, the relationships we build with people are paramount. As leaders, we need to learn that being great has everything to do with how we choose to lead. Strong leadership is much more than making decisions and setting strategy. It’s about giving and receiving trust, being genuine and accountable and above all, uncovering the hidden gems by doing nothing more than listening to those around us.

Jay McDonald

With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands- on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve greater results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives. Connect with Jay McDonald on Google+

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