Success Tips: 7 Leadership Principles
What exactly is leadership and why is leadership important?
John Maxwell says that leadership is influence. It is a gate to a successful stories. Colin Powell says that leadership is character. While both of these definitions certainly describe some aspects of leadership, the one which resonates most with me is the definition by Warren Bennis.
In his book “On Becoming A Leader” Warren says that great leaders don’t go out to prove themselves – they want to express themselves fully. I love this because it focuses a lot on the individual. You have to build value on the inside before you can add massive value on the outside.
After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
Leadership is important because organisations take on the character of their leaders. Done right, leadership can maximise productivity, shape corporate culture and propel a company to greater heights. Done wrong, leadership can effectively kill off the entire company.
Here are the 7 Leadership Principles For Lasting Success:
1. Fortify Yourself
Before you can lead and influence people, you must first learn how to take good care of your body. This is the only engine you have to carry you through. Let’s look at 3 specific areas:
There is a good amount of research which supports the notion of eating protein early in the morning. Specifically, 30 grams of protein. Donald Layman, Professor Emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois says that eating protein stimulates repair and replacement of body proteins, activates metabolism and protects muscle structures.
According to Harvard Medical School, “sleep deprivation is dangerous to your mental and physical health and can dramatically lower your quality of life. Sleeping less than five hours a night increases the risk of death from all causes by about 15%.”
The advantages of “enough sleep” have been well documented. These include increased memory and focus, a longer life, lower stress and decreased risk of depression.
So how much is enough sleep anyway? Between six to seven hours each night.
Various Sports You Can Do
Those of us who work normally discharge our duties in a sedentary fashion. This is where added effort needs to be taken to go and exercise. Almost everyone understands and agrees with the benefits that regular exercise brings. These include an energy boost, an increase in self-confidence and reduced risk of heart disease.
Remember, a healthy mind can’t exist in an unhealthy body.
2. Take 100% Responsibility
Who you are today is a direct result of all the decisions you made in the past. This includes everything from your accomplishments, your relationships, your physical health and your career. No one “coerced” you to be who you are today. This was and still is your 100% responsibility. If you don’t like your current result, you have to start making different decisions. Stop blaming others for misfortunes and setbacks. Start realising that you and only you are responsible for your life.
If you currently lead an organisation, remember that the entire company reflects your shadow. You have the power to change if you don’t like the current circumstances. Start with making a different decision. Remember, without a decision, you will never start but more importantly, without discipline, you will never finish.
3. Embrace Change
When was the last time you saw a floppy disk? Or a “Walkman?” Change is the only thing constant in this world. While most of us acknowledge that everything is changing, only a few are willing to embrace change. Most people don’t welcome change because of two reasons: fear of failure and fear of the unknown. This is the reason we prefer to stay in our comfort zone and complain without taking any action.
Harvard Business Reviews says “Technology Will Replace Many Doctors, Lawyers, and Other Professionals.”
That’s not just a scary thought – it’s a reality. The faster we embrace change, the better we will be. The real question is, how?
Peter Drucker, one of the world’s foremost management consultants, says the only way for a company to continue thriving is to constantly innovate and market that innovation.
Look at Apple, Facebook and Amazon. They are constantly innovating and marketing. On the contrary, look at Kodak and Nokia. They didn’t innovate fast enough.
“Nothing is worthwhile in life unless you take risks. Nothing.”
- Denzel Washington
4. Enlarge Your Vision
The iconic Steve Jobs said this in a speech in 1983:
“Apple’s strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes.”
He was obviously talking about the iPad which first launched on 3rd April 2010. Steve made that speech 27 years before it became a reality. Critical thinking combined with creativity can produce something that could be of help not just for you but for the entire world.
Today, Apple employs over 115,000 people globally and boasts a market capitalization of USD745 billion.
Do you have a vision for yourself and your organization? If you don’t, create one. If you do, it’s time to enlarge it.
5. Set Goals
Aim Boards and Arrows
What’s the next step after you cast an enlarged vision? The first step to achieving your vision is to set clear goals. What would you like to achieve 3, 5 or 10 years from now?
The idea of setting goals is still foreign to most people for three reasons:
Most people are too preoccupied handling daily worries and challenges that they don’t have time to stop and think about goals.
Most of us are not wired to run out of the house first thing in the morning and start chasing our dreams. Humans are inherently lazy, which may be a trait left over from our ancestors’ days of conserving energy for the next hunt. Laziness and procrastination go hand in hand.
Research has shown that the bottom line for most people is the ingrained sentence “I’m not good enough.” This psychologically debilitating affirmation is one of the biggest reasons we tend to stay in our comfort zone and play it small. We don’t feel we deserve to make a million dollars, have a blissful marriage or stay in a beautiful home. However, here’s the rub – if we don’t feel we deserve these things, we’ll end up doing things that will prevent us from getting them.
How do we reasonably break free from these shackles and push forward in life? A simple tip is to take small steps. You see, motion creates emotion. Once we take a positive step in the right direction, momentum builds and allows us to take the next one and the next one. Remember that motion creates emotion.
Here’s my “4P Matrix” which helps me to frame up my goals in a clear fashion. Write one goal down in each box. Make it specific and set a time-frame to achieve it.
This could be something like traveling the world, losing weight or quitting smoking.
Set one goal which relates to savings or wealth creation; either from your career, business or financial portfolio.
Set one goal to reconnect or contribute to someone else.
Set one goal to replace a limiting belief with an empowering one. Your philosophy is your worldview. It’s a collection of your beliefs, values and experiences which frame up your world.
6. Pick A Great Team
The old African Proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go fa, go together.”
How true. No man is an island. Greater things have always been achieved as a team. However, the deeper principle is this. You are good at certain things and naturally bad at others. As an example, you could be really great at creativity or business strategy but really bad at accounting or administration.
If you’re a “3” at accounting, no meaningful amount of time spent at improving your skills will bring you up to a 9 or 10. Rather, find a team member who’s great at accounting. This is where a team gets an edge over an individual. Focus on being a “10” as a team instead of being a “3” all by yourself.
If you are starting a small company, use my “M.A.P.” model to pick a team who is great at:
M = Marketing
A = Administration
P = Production
7. Say YES to Life!
You’ve got one shot at life. It’s time to play flat-out. Try something adventurous. Overcome your fears. Travel and discover the world. Try exotic foods. Learn a new language. Discover your hidden talent. There is so much this life has to offer. Don’t reach the end of the road and fill yourself with regrets over the things you didn’t do. Do them today.
Try Something Adventurous