Want to be the ultimate leader?
Aim for effective instead.
Imagine a world where everyone and everything was led by the ‘Perfect Leader’. If we could develop this ultimate being and create a production line of leadership cyborgs with the skills, attributes and qualities needed to lead – the world would be a better place, right? Maybe not.
When you hear the word ‘leader’ you probably get an image, an archetype, maybe even a specific person in your mind. But no two leaders are the same. And no two businesses need the same from their leaders.
There’s no blueprint for a good leader. There’s no such thing as leadership ‘perfection’. We all encounter different challenges, different opportunities, and work with different teams.
But whoever you’re leading and wherever you’re doing it there are practices you can adopt that will make you better. Because while we’re discrediting the ‘perfect leader’ myth, let’s get rid of the ‘born leader’ one too. Being a great leader takes practice.
In ‘The Effective Executive’, Peter F. Drucker lists five habits of the mind that can help you become an effective leader:
1)Know where your time goes
It might feel like you haven’t enough time but how can you know without managing it? Effective leaders work systematically at managing the time that they can control.
2)Focus on outward contribution
Gear your efforts to results rather than work. Instead of asking ‘what work needs to be done?’ ask ‘what results are expected of me’ and strategically focus on achieving that.
3)Build on strengths
Don’t try to change or control things out of your reach. Build on your strengths, the strengths of your team, the strengths of situations and opportunities. Start from a place of what you can do, rather than what you can’t – don’t try to build on weakness.
The areas where better performance will produce outstanding results are where your energy should be. Force yourself to set priorities and stick with them. Sometimes you’ll have to do the first things first and the second things not at all.
5)Make effective decisions
Decision making shouldn’t be about instinct, it should be a systematic process – the right steps in the right sequence, and not taken too fast. An effective decision is always a judgement, likely to be based on ‘dissenting opinions’ rather than ‘consensus on the facts’.
Do the right things – but do them your way
Leadership is a learning curve, but the key to success isn’t figuring out what kind of leader you should be, it’s focusing on what your people and your business need.
Ask yourself what needs to be done to get your business to where you want it to be. Develop action plans that focus on opportunities rather than problems. And take responsibility for steering them. Then you’ll be the perfect leader for your team.