Effective leadership is not about personality. Granted certain personalities enable leaders to be more natural at certain skills.
- Those with more outgoing, task driven personalities, tend to drive change and innovation more comfortably.
- Those with influencer type personalities tend to draw people in and communicate with greater enthusiasm and create buy in.
- People that are more analytical tend to be more systematic and detailed when it comes to strategy development.
- And those that are more stable and consistent tend to build a more relational environment.
But effective leadership is not about personality. And it’s definitely not about title.
It’s about the work the leader does. Effective leaders do the right work, the right way.
Effective leadership requires having an effective system.
The Three Key Leadership Systems
1- The system for understanding opportunities, market potential and people.
Intuitive leaders have an innate sense of trends and understanding product development, market needs, opportunities and people.
Walt Disney, despite naysayers, somehow knew people would drive to the orange groves of Anaheim, California and pay $1.00 to go to an amusement park. We now have Disneyland. Thanks Walt!
Steve Jobs was absolutely convinced that a market of computer enthusiasts would appreciate beautiful fonts and artistry when it came to computer design. He was right.
By the way, when I talk about markets, that also includes followers. In business, that’s employees. Great leaders understand employees and people. They understand what matters to them and will inspire and engage them.
Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos Shoes, seems to have an uncanny sense of how to inspire and keep employees. In comparison, a typical call center environment has roughly 150% annual employee turnover. Zappos experiences less than 39% which included turnover resulting from promotions. He determined that people want to be happy at work and created an environment that really supports that.
For some business owners they are very effective at understanding market opportunties, potential and followers. Some people THINK they are but really miss the boat.
In order to lead effectively, leaders – business owners – must be honest with themselves and consider how effective they are at really understanding markets and people.
Regardless, there is a system for this and it really comes down to knowing the truth. The Level 7 Principle of Knowing What’s True suggests we get objective information about our theories. So if you think the market might be interested in a product or service, do a little testing or investigating first. Do some research. Gather some data.
Over the last year or so I’ve been exploring the idea of launching a new, very laser focused implementation service centered on helping companies get systemized. It’s all about systems documentation and the systems development cycle. The idea of developing a systems driven business has become more mainstream and easy to understand.
I recently launched a 6 week training and implementation program specifically focused on walking businesses through the specifics of that process. It was very cool seeing the number of people who jumped on the opportunity to get involved in the process.
If you want information on the next launch, click this link to get on the early notification list.
2- System for establishing goals, vision and direction.
Most business owners I meet have a pretty good idea of the direction they want to take their businesses. It’s sort of floating around in the atmosphere and they pull nuggets of their vision out from time to time as needed. But often it’s not written down and laser focused. This lack of focus and direction hurts a business more than most people know or care to admit.
Great leaders are very clear and definitive about the vision, goals, culture, standards and objectives of their business.
There is a system for developing these as well. In virtually every case, when I support a business owner in the process, I have found that walking them through our system for defining and getting these elements in writing elevates their confidence and ability to lead their organization dramatically.
This process must following the steps behind understanding markets and potential however. It doesn’t make sense to create a vision based on a situation where there is no or limited market potential.
In our Level 7 Full Access or i2 Program, we have a whole series of systems that are designed to help business owners identify and clearly articulate their company goals and objectives.
3- System for Creating an Enthusiastic Collective Focus. (A clever way of saying – effective communication)
Good leaders figure out a way to effectively get their message – their vision – across to others. Some leaders are natural communicators. People literally hold onto their every word. In some cases people might have some challenges or hang ups communicating goals and objectives. To those types I say, your people are not mind readers. Figure out a way to get your message out in a way that will inspire and engage them.
Good leaders develop effective and consistent systems and forums for communication. The hold meetings. They send memos. They do a video. They enlist others to tell the story. But they get their message out until people get it and OWN it.
How will you know if you are leading well?
Very simply. You have followers. Not employees who are engaged cause they are being paid. It’s more than that. You have people that are engaged, enthusiastic, committed and understand where the business or organization is going. They want the result like you do.
If you don’t see evidence of that in your business, go to work evaluating and developing your leadership systems.
- Understanding Markets and People
- Defining Vision and Goals
- Proper and Effective Communication