As the CEO, you work for your employees first and foremost. It's not the other way around.
To create change, influence others and drive success, develop leadership skills that will earn you admiration, respect and trust. To do so, productive habits must be nurtured.
Despite how obvious these tips may be, most company executives regularly forget to use them. Consider this a friendly reminder that there’s at least one thing (or eight) that you can do every day to be a better leader.
1. Use good body posture.
Melia Robinson nailed it when said of posture that “it's the least expensive, most low-tech life hack you'll find.” Already sold? Your pose, posture and general handling of your body affect how others perceive you and how you perceive yourself. Indeed social psychologist Amy Cuddy suggested in a TED Talk that in being conscious of the way you position your body and all its moving parts, you may increase your chances of success.
2. Add a personal touch.
As a business grows, a CEO might find it easier to delegate nearly all the responsibilities to company directors and vice presidents. One thing leaders should always maintain no matter the size of their firms, however, is a personal touch. Use your soft skills with even your most entry-level employees to let everyone know, from the bottom up, that your organization values its people.
3. Maintain a calm composure.
Do not freak out when there is troubling news. While your team might, set the tone by remaining calm and staying on course instead of panicking and reacting to the situation irrationally. Long term, it simply isn’t worth overreacting and the best bosses keep their cool even when faced with a major crisis.
Jill Geisle shared timeless advice for Poynter on how leaders can weather the storm, drawing on the experience of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who famously landed a plane in the Hudson River in 2009.
4. Challenge conventional thinking.
Being married to old habits will get you nowhere. In fact, a firm commitment to the status quo stymies innovation as well as personal and professional growth. To challenge conventional thinking, a leader must adopt an attitude that begs the question, “Why not?”
5. Be realistic.
Aggressive deadlines and goals may motivate some of team members. For others, the belief that “failure is not an option” can actually harm employee productivity, happiness and health. As CEO advisor Michael L. Stallard, president of E Pluribus Partners,e xplained for Fox Business, “the phrase and thinking has had unintended consequences.”
Undue pressure raises anxiety and creates an artificial line between failure and success. When a CEO manages companywide expectations to empathize with human, time and resource limitations, she will find herself quickly surrounded by motivated co-workers eager to succeed instead of teammates anxious to narrowly escape failure.
6. Teach by example.
Employees think of the CEO as an incredibly experienced jack-of-all-trades. In their eyes, it takes a certain type of leader -- the best kind -- to be able to fulfill most duties within a company and have mastery over a few select skills.
That said, a leader can truly command respect when she demonstrates ways that employees can do their jobs better. No one is impressed by an individual who simply knows how to delegate tasks. Instead, they are loyal to a captain who also knows how to get his hands dirty aboard the ship.
7. Demonstrate authenticity.
A successful leader is not one who's universally feared. Rather, the most authentic principals are those who are approachable and down-to-earth. They commit to working in the best interests of their firms.
Robin Sharma elaborates on at least 10 things that authentic leaders do regularly for the University of Oregon’s Holden Leadership Center.
8. Maintain awareness.
Operate with a full understanding of the macro- and micro-implications of every action and decision on your business. Avoid being blinded or influenced by vanity metrics and others’ opinions.
To develop self-awareness and awareness of others, both of which are critical to success, follow Anthony K. Tjan's easy-to-follow guide published in the Harvard Business Review.
When you maintain a clear purview of your goals and surroundings, you can act objectively without letting emotions or hubris get in the way of productive and rational thinking.
Which important leadership qualities would you add to this list?