“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
Chances are, you’ve heard the above quote before. And if you’re leader in your business (no matter in what capacity), you might have experienced it as well.
Leading people is one of the hardest parts about having your own business and I don’t think it’s talked about enough in the young entrepreneur space. Most young entrepreneurs walk into their leadership position not even realizing that was a position or requirement in the first place. As a result, I often make a point to ask my guests on the Entrepreneur Before 25 Podcast about the topic in some way on most every episode.
Leading people is easy, but leading people well is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. It’s a gift that can take years of practice to even come close to achieving. That is why I gleaned some of the top advice from my EB25 guests on the topic of becoming not just someone that leads well, but on how to be an effective and influential leader within your business.
CAST THE VISION:
Vision creates passion and passion creates action.
Every successful business starts with a clear vision. At first, that vision is just carried by one individual. This approach works for a while when you’re a one-man-show who’s building your idea on your own. But, as you start adding more people to your team, the best leaders are the ones who can make their team members get behind their vision almost as much as they are. Effective leaders don’t just believe in their vision themselves, but they sell every individual on their team that vision as well.
The vision of your business is the foundation, and the metric by which decision should run by. For every business I am involved in, one of the first steps that I take is creating a mission, vision and values. From this foundation, it is your job as the leader to make that vision come as much to life as possible.
One of the most valuable tips that past EB25 guests have said when attempting to cast a vision is to talk about the vision in present tense. Talk about the idea like it’s already alive, like it’s already making an impact on the world. What would the world be like if your vision became a reality. You have to get your team to see the vision as much as you do in order to recognize the steps and signs to help you lead your business to that destination.
HAVE A BIAS TOWARDS ACTION:
Effective and influential leaders are constantly moving forward. If every door shuts, they find a window to jump through. If someone tells them there is no way around a river, they build a bridge. There is no down, there’s only forward. I think you get the picture.
As the leader of your team, you have to constantly be leading towards positive change and growth in your business. Most of the time, especially based of the stories of EB25 guests, that’s going to mean hard decisions. Those decisions might scare people because it’s human nature to push back on change by default. But as long as those decisions align with your mission, vision and values, you are walking in integrity within those decisions. Don’t be passive or reactive as a leader. Be proactive towards positive change in every aspect of your business. Especially when it comes to leading people.
PRACTICE SERVANT LEADERSHIP:
Across the board, servant leadership is the most important aspect of leadership. As you see in the picture, a servant leader is someone who puts other people’s needs before themselves. A servant leader leads by example and understands that their job is to insure the happiness of their team and customers first, not themselves.
There have been many stories told by EB25 guests about their journey with servant leadership and the sacrifices that has required them to personally make at times. Sacrifices that range from going into the trenches of the business and helping with the nitty gritty work again to not taking a paycheck for a year so that the team could get paid.
The best leaders are servant leaders. This is why effective leadership is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do. It doesn’t matter if you’re leading one or twenty people, in a business or organization. You are caring the weight on your back and doing it with a positive attitude. Servant leaders put the needs over others before themselves. In my opinion, only through this principle being practice can the trust, respect, relationship and engagement of a team and your business be carried out to its full potential.
If you take one thing away from this article, the most important aspect of being an effective and influential leader within your business is leading by example. People will follow your actions, not your words. You must decide the vision you want to run towards, have a bias towards action towards that vision and lead through servant leadership with every step you take.