The statement ‘not for everybody’ annoys me.
As a teenager, certain styles were apparently not for everybody, instead fit only for the cool kids. Fast forward to college, and some of the parties I wanted to attend were deemed exclusive; really, just a fancier way of saying not for everybody.
However, never have I been more incensed than when I hear wannabe experts claim that business leadership is not for everybody. Who do they think they are to determine whether or not someone is capable of reaching the top!?
If children can run lemonade stands and turn a profit, then anyone who puts their mind to it can be a business leader.
After all, most, if not all people have found themselves chairing a certain group, whether it is a committee to organize a family reunion or the PTA meetings at a child’s school.
Business leadership is eerily similar to that except you have to possess a working understanding of the intricacies of your organization instead of the school or your family.
It is like a primary school teacher switching over from the classroom to be the new football coach. They are still handling the same batch of students, the only difference is now they are teaching football as opposed to math. Leadership is leadership, the only difference is what you’re leading.
In case you don’t believe me, how about we run through a few essential traits each business leader is expected to have. Let me show you that you possess them too.
If by the end you still doubt yourself, then sure, throw in the towel on your entrepreneurial dreams, just know that you’re quitting for nothing.
Understanding oneself enables us to better interact with others.
Without a clear picture of our strengths and weaknesses, we cannot expect to be charged with leading a group of people, let alone a business.
We must first find that massive log in our own eyes before we start looking for the speck of dust in the eyes of others.
Take personal trainers as an example. Most of them tend to have physiques that you only see in your dreams. Consequently, if he yells at you to do five more reps, you will be much more likely to listen and push through the pain.
However, what if your instructor weighed three hundred pounds and sported the most distinct love handles you have ever seen. Such an instructor couldn’t get me to do a sit-up if he paid me.
So, understanding your own limitations, will help you work through the limitations of others, and find their strengths.
Accommodating & Rational
Imagine a world where everybody is accommodating of others and applies rationale in challenging situations.
World peace would be achieved almost overnight, and pesky neighbors would become friendly neighbors,or at least live and let you live.
Even Donald Trump might start looking like a reasonable president, if he started applying some rational thinking. A leader capable of creating allies on the world stage instead of embarrassing us on it.
As a corporate leader, it will be your job to create comradery between the workers in your own organisation. To open channels of communication both among workers and among management and in-between. Open communication throughout an organisation is what makes that organisation thrive. Just as lungs cannot function without open channels to the heart to pump oxygenated blood, an organisation cannot thrive without open channels between departments.
Employees follow the lead of management when it comes to character building. If you are quiet to them, they will be quiet to you, closing off any great ideas they might have.
In terms of rationale, employees expect you to be considerate of their various plights when making decisions.
If you want everyone to work late in order to close a certain deal, you have to broach the topic carefully while taking time out to listen to what they have to say.
What if one employee left her child at a daycare service and has to go pick her up?
Your rationale must shine through and enable you to handle such a situation appropriately without denting employee morale.
Confidence & Accompanying Knowledge
Back when generals such as Napoleon Bonaparte led their armies to battle, there was no room for self doubt. In modern day business, the same applies.
Whenever Napoleon rallied his troops together and gave them his instructions, he would speak with a confidence that literally moved armies.
If he exhibited even the slightest hint of cowardice, his troops would believe they had no chance of survival, so he had to have confidence in the face of danger. As a business leader, you have to be confident. Your employees must be able to trust your decisions.
However, confidence does not always present itself in a brash attitude and demeanor.
As long as you know what you are doing and saying, you can be soft spoken but still garner adulation from your workers.
Look at Steve Jobs. Very soft spoken man. However, when it came to technological design, his skill set was incomparable. This made it possible for him to warrant attention from even the most qualified engineer at Apple; all because he actually knew what he was doing.
If you decide to pursue your ambition of becoming a business leader, make sure you can mimic such an example or risk a lack of respect from your employees.
It may seem generic, or cliché, but the old saying of two heads are better than one is crucial in the business world. You may have the highest IQ score in the world, but you still won’t know or be the best at everything. Eventually, you will need help from somebody.
The world is made up of people. If you try to go it alone, you’ll miss the many opportunities others can bring.
However, if you surround yourself with a capable team of people you trust who can help you rationalize through tough decisions, your teams compounded knowledge will bring the best results for your organisation.
Seasoned entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos got to where they were by surrounding themselves with other strong leaders and talent. If they acknowledged the need to involve others, you should too.
They often say the hardest part about starting a business is actually taking the plunge and doing it. I agree.
Once that is out of the way, patience, rationale and consideration can take you a long way. The naysayers said it was not for everybody, but by the look of things, it might just be everybody’s cup of tea, if they gave it a chance.