Being a successful business leader requires you to do – and don’t do – certain things. Here, psychologist and human behaviour expert Dr. Cindy Wahler outlines a few actions that may be hindering your ability to lead successfully.
Absence of aspiration: Leaders often confuse ambition with aspiration. If you aspire to be a great leader, you need to lead with aspiration. What does this mean? You must be a disruptor. You must take the current state of business and ask how you can make a difference. Leaving your mark means you have figured out in a creative, innovative way to add value
Lack of succession: As a leader, your job is to identify talent. Then it’s your job to cultivate that talent. If you cannot stretch your team and position them for the next senior role, you will be perceived as either controlling or micro-managing. Another fatal flaw is you might be seen as strictly a tactical leader – a good leader, but no more than that.
Minimal ability to impact: Why should your team follow you? You must believe and be convinced of your vision, and articulate that vision in a way that translates for your team. If you don’t, it may only look great on paper. If you cannot explain what your team and the broader team must do to both create and own transformational change then you didn’t lose them. You actually ran ahead without realising they were never by your side.
Rigidity and narrow focus: An ability to be nimble means many things. This means you must consider and adopt alternate ways of thinking. Everybody on your team has a point of view. Should you not seek their counsel you will be blind-sided and be viewed as a leader with an insular lens. We know what happens to organisations that turn inward – they’re not sustainable and are no longer here today.
Being the smartest one in the room: The best leaders surround themselves with experts. They have a great combination of confidence and humility. They acknowledge that others not only have great answers, but sometimes they have better answers than yours. They admit when they are wrong or just don’t know. Their human essence rings true as a leader who is strident with conviction, compassion, and partnership.
The right leadership behaviors turn into an admired, followed, and ultimately rewarded leadership brand. Ask yourself daily whether you model and value the leadership attributes known to predict success. It can be tough to look inward and see ourselves. We show up with the right intent, but may impact differently. Ask a trusted peer or mentor for candid feedback. Fine-tuning your style as you go along to align with what is required to get you there is a key attribute of leaders who are aspirational.