Are You Leading Your Company or Just Managing It?

As the owner or chief executive in your company, how much time do you spend on leading and not just managing? If your goal is to create a growing, profitable business that can work without you, strong leadership is a must.  Leaders come in all shapes, sizes and from all ways of life, but they do have common characteristics.  How many of these describe you?

1. Leaders create a vision and understand that true change is driven by emotion, not logic. In other words, they transform the mundane into a passion that their team can rally around. Think of the benefit you create for your customers, i.e. bankers and financial planners make dreams come true, communications companies educate and inspire, recruiters create a livelihood for workers, photographers preserve memories. What noble cause does your company provide?

2. Leaders know how to link vision and action. It's not just about a vision; it's about making that vision come alive. They have a unique way of separating the important from the interesting and then focusing on one of those things.

3. Leaders create an environment of accountability. Not only do great leaders demand accountability of themselves, they demand it of their team. Excuses are not allowed.

4. Leaders are willing to make the tough decision. They have a strong character and are not swayed by what’s easy or popular.  Sure it is easier to say "yes", than "no". As a leader, it is more important to make the right decision than the easy decision.

5. Leaders inspire through their everyday actions and words. You don't need long speeches or memos to inspire. Lincoln's, "Gettysburg Address" was less than three minutes long and Churchill's famous, "Blood, Sweat and Tears" speech was two and a half minutes long. Words are important, but actions inspire even more. Mother Teresa's credo was, "Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier."

6. Leaders realize that no one, including themselves, is indispensible. Once you become bigger than the cause, you cease to lead. Translated into business, teach your team to do things better than you ever could and you will both benefit.

Leadership doesn’t happen overnight and a mentor or coach can help you understand how to take the first steps and then work with you as you transform your management skills into leadership skills.

Practice your leadership skills!  This will benefit you, your family, your team and your customers.

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