My grandma used to tell me stories about myself when I was two or three years old. Apparently, I would often stand up on a footstool in the kitchen and talk – a lot. Being a Christian woman, she predicted that I would become a preacher.
I didn’t end up writing sermons and leading a congregation, but I do get up in front of people and talk a lot. As CEO of Accord Group since 2010, I regularly find myself at the front of the room speaking to my leadership team about our goals for the future and how we’re going to achieve them.
What does it mean to be a leader?
Whether you’re leading a company with hundreds of employees or you’re the captain of your high school football team, leadership is an awesome and serious responsibility. It’s also more than just being in charge and making money.
During my time as CEO of Accord Group, I’ve picked up a few principles of leadership that have made me a more effective and engaging leader. If you want to take your approach to leadership to the next level, I encourage you to consider the following principles:
- Be in the business of helping people. No matter what role you’re in, your goal should be to help the people around you. Help them build better lives by calling out their strengths. Give them opportunities. Let them take chances. Empower and encourage each and every team member to go from good to great.
- Keep ego and greed in check. When people don’t have integrity, regardless of circumstances, they start making decisions based on greed. If you want to build long-term success, you must keep these in check with your customers and employees.
- Don’t stop just because you’re at the top. A lot of people in my position start to take their foot off the pedal once they reach the top of the company. Don’t. As your company grows, your responsibility becomes even greater. Challenge yourself to work harder and set bigger goals.
- Don’t focus on others’ weaknesses – that’s amateur’s work. Focusing on their strengths is what professionals do. If you’re digging for gold, you have to dig through a lot of dirt. If you expect to find the gold in people without investing time and effort, it won’t happen. Instead, search for what is unique about them. Identify a role in your company that will fulfill both their needs and the company’s needs.
- Above all, lead by example. At some level, everyone wants to lead because everyone wants to be in charge. If you can’t discipline yourself in your current role, what makes you think you could also hold other people accountable? Show up. Work hard. Under-promise and over-deliver. Do what you’re taught, and do it with a positive attitude.