By Contributing Author
When any individual decides to take up the mantle of leadership, he or she has a variety of challenges to overcome, especially in the business world. Business leaders have many roles, but before they can lead their employees, management teams, or companies, they must learn and nurture the principals of leadership within themselves to gain the most success. As such, all business leaders, no matter their experience, should work to follow several principals of leadership that can help forge a path to prosperity and achievement.
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1. Actions Are More Powerful Than Words
While business leaders should have public speaking and communication skills, their actions should speak more often. For example, if a problem arises within a company that affects a management team, a leader who forms a plan of action to eliminate the problem is more likely to be trusted than one who simply talks about the issue without offering any solutions.
Taking action is also helpful in setting a good example for a leader’s employees and admirers. When people see someone moving to solve a problem, create something, or act in the best interests of his or her company, this is more likely to inspire them than words might. As such, effective leaders should put plans into action rather than waste time discussing them.
2. Set a Prime Example
It is not enough for someone to say he or she is a leader: an individual must show it in every aspect of how he or she conducts business. This includes how business owners and CEOs speak to their employees, to the media, and to their customers. This is important because leaders are consistently in the spotlight and should do everything they can to set a good example for their employees and those who aspire to be leaders themselves one day.
When business leaders strive to set a good example, this means more than being aware of what they say. Actions, the way they speak, the information they conceal or reveal, and even the way they sound when they speak can have a negative impact on their image. Maintaining a positive lifestyle in all aspects of their lives can help leaders set the best example for everyone around them.
3. Embrace Diversity
Diversity in the workplace is quickly becoming the cornerstone of innovation and success. In 2014, Forbes reported that diversity has contributed to a great deal of international business growth. Since this trend will probably continue, business leaders should embrace it as one of their basic core values. Not only is inclusion a fine example to set for others, it can also create strong business teams that can drive a business in surprising new directions.
Business leaders should avoid being passive about diversity in their workplace and strive to promote it in all areas of the company. When teams are comprised of different genders, nationalities, and backgrounds, this can set a precedence for other companies. Eventually, creating diverse management teams can mark any business leader and his or her business as an emerging leader in this area.
4. Behaviors, Not Beliefs, Can be Modified
Sometimes, a leader emerges from humble beginnings. One example is Eugene Chrinian, who worked his way up from a furniture assembler and floor sweeper to the CEO of one of the most successful furniture stores in the country. Chrinian formed his leadership values slowly, and although he admits he made a few mistakes in the beginning, a change in behaviors helped him become a successful team leader.
Chrinian’s success story can teach emerging leaders that a change in behavior and being flexible about modifying the way one leads his or her team is possible, and that encouraging one’s employees to do the same can create a powerful management ensemble. In order for a leader to be effective, he or she must realize that each member of a team can and should think independently, and while some measure of cohesion is necessary, individual beliefs should be valued, even as team managers strive to change negative behaviors or actions in their employees.
5. Believe in the Golden Rule
While there are plenty of innovative management styles available in the business world, one of the oldest still holds true: if leaders want people to follow their vision, then they must treat their employees and customers the way they would want to be treated. This is especially important for young people who are just starting out in their leadership roles and are confident in that role because even though a belief in one’s ideas can take them far, a business vision can rarely be achieved alone.
Young leaders should consider what they might want out of a team member/team leader relationship and then apply those desires to their employees. If an equal voice is an important value to a leader, then he or she should give every team member the opportunity to speak. This can help eliminate resentment and internal strife that can ultimately destroy a business.
The way a business leader operates will vary depending on his or her beliefs and value system. However, following a set of leadership principals based on equality, positivity, and diversity can set a path to lifelong success.