Can you become a great leader overnight? No way. Remarkable leaders achieve their skills through years of hard work. But if you’re hankering for a quick list of snappy tips that will inspire you and fuel your desire to do better and be better – then this post is for you.
What follows are universal truths. Clear, simple, easy to understand. Skim the list today, then print it and post it somewhere so you can linger over each tip later. You could devote yourself to developing one characteristic per week. Or make a journal entry about each tip for 25 days in a row. Or dole them out, one by one, as conversation-starters in a managers’ meeting.
Don’t worry: you’ll know the right way to apply these wise-isms to your life. I’m pretty sure one of them is, “Trust Yourself.”
1. Make firm decisions. Don’t leave things on the table too long. Make decisions in a way that makes your team view you as the person who’s good at making decisions.
2. Be consistent. This is how you teach your team what you expect. When people know what’s expected, they can be autonomous.
3. Communicate efficiently. Talk less, but say more. And use the right medium: phone, email, face-to-face. Which one’s best? It depends, so choose wisely.
4. Know your limits. Know what you don’t know, and get help when you need it. You won’t look stupid – you’ll look in control.
5. Be passionate. If you aren’t passionate about your job, you’re in the wrong job.
6. Find mentors and role models. You’re going to blaze some new trails, but look for people up ahead and learn from them.
7. Know your weaknesses. Admit whatever it is, then work on it.
8. Accept the unforeseen. Your job is to solve problems. You can’t always predict them.
9. Choose people carefully. Don’t work with people you don’t trust. People show you who they are. Pay attention.
10. Expand your boundaries. Expose yourself to new people and new ideas. That’s how you learn.
11. But maintain boundaries, too. Being friendly with co-workers is not the same thing as being friends. Know the difference. You’re the boss first.
12. Be a slow reactor. Hold back your reactions until you have a moment to clarify your internal thoughts and feelings.
13. Forgive mistakes. Everyone makes them. Even you.
14. Forgive yourself. See above.
15. Be reasonable. Listen to dissenting opinions. Keep your temper. Be fair.
16. Be a lifelong learner. Read, listen, take classes, travel.
17. Be a constant improver. Your processes, your skills, your techniques, your methods. If you can measure it, you can improve it. If you can’t measure it, then it probably needs improvement.
18. Know when to cut your losses. Sometimes you just have to start over. That’s not failure, that’s a plot twist.
19. Learn from your mistakes. Prove you learned something by not making the same mistake again.
20. Reduce your stress. Too much stress makes you hard to work for and hard to live with. Recognize it, and take steps to reduce it.
21. Give feedback. Nothing motivates a team more than positive feedback in its various forms. Negative feedback, carefully delivered, can have the same effect.
22. Be approachable. Let yourself be known.
23. Don’t burn bridges. Never cut a contact completely out of your life.
24. Keep in touch. If team members leave or change roles, stay in contact with them.
25. Return favors. If someone helps you, pay back the kindness – even if it’s years later.
Maurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.