No matter what type of leader you want to become, such as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the entrepreneur behind the successful launch of a new business, it’s important to develop your name in the industry as a trusted, resourceful leader who gets results. You must remember to think about your own personal brand, not just the brand of the organization you create or work for.
People with the best reputation as leaders will land top new jobs or more investment for their businesses, and they’ll inspire confidence in employees, shareholders, suppliers, journalists, and lenders.
Read on for some tips you can follow to develop yourself as a leader with an impeccable reputation now and into the future.
Never Stop Learning
Take a look at interviews with some of the biggest names in business over the years and you’ll see that these leaders invariably talk about their commitment to learning. The best managers are people who have an open mindset and who try to learn something new each day. They also push themselves to do things which might initially be outside their comfort zone. After all, if you want a team to follow you and be inspired by you, you have to give them a reason, right?
To be the best leader possible, look for ways to grow. Be open to new experiences and opportunities, and to the ideas and opinions of others. Continue to learn from your mistakes, too. Some of the best lessons in business tend to come from things which don’t turn out as you’d hoped.
To develop yourself, consider a wide variety of avenues. For example, you might want to enroll in a university degree that will give you an all-over education in business, or something that will help you learn about a specific subject matter. These days, with the growth in online learning, you don’t have to worry about how to get an MBA degree or other qualification as you work either, because online courses can be scheduled around your job and other commitments.
You will also learn a lot from reading books, blogs, newsletters, white papers, forums, and the like; and from attending relevant events such as trade shows, conferences, seminars, talks, business association meetings, etc. It also pays to find a mentor who is experienced in your particular industry or in running a business. General networking, both online and in person, is very helpful too. By getting to know new people, you will learn much and often find out about things you didn’t even realize you needed or wanted to know.
Next, to be a leader that gets results and has an outstanding reputation, you must be able to communicate effectively. This refers to not just the words you say in person, either one-on-one or in groups, but also in conversations over the phone, in written communication, and in the body language and other non-verbal cues you present.
To be a good communicator, you must be able to get your point across concisely, and to motivate and inspire people. This is particularly true when it comes to interacting with your staff members, and with potential investors or lenders, journalists, suppliers, contractors, shareholders, and customers.
Effective leaders also know how to listen just as well as they speak, and to notice what people aren’t saying, as much as what they are. Top business owners are adept at dealing with conflict in a smart way, so negativity diffuses rather than escalates, and all parties feel like they have got somewhere. You must also be able to negotiate skillfully, and to sell people on your ideas.
Develop Personal Traits That Shine Through
Lastly, while knowledge is incredibly important as an entrepreneur, so is the development of key personal traits. Successful leaders don’t just get to the top because of what they know, but because of how they are around other people, and the personal strengths they have. For example, being a leader means facing tough times, again and again. As such, you must be resilient, and able to persevere, even when it seems like there is no “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Excellent leaders also demonstrate commitment. They do what they say they will, even if this means putting in extra hours; and they don’t give up just because things might seem difficult or because obstacles arise. To lead a team effectively you also need to have a positive outlook, so you see opportunities and help to keep staff morale high; and you need to be passionate about what you do. Other important traits are confidence, focus, decisiveness, integrity, motivation, and creativity.