We’ve been talking and thinking a lot about company culture recently, how to get people excited about some different ways on how to keep them engaged. But everything has to start with the leadership of the company set an empowering example for their employees.
What makes people great leaders? It sounds crazy to type or say it out loud, but it’s harder than most people think. There’s a reason bitching about the boss is a lot of people’s favorite pastime. It’s easy to take missteps, yet those can be great as long as they’re used as learning experiences. The hardest part is learning new skill sets for a role that’s different than any they’ve had in the past.
It’s similar a player transitioning into coaching.
They gained valuable knowledge from playing competitively for so long, and their experiences from their time playing will inform almost every decision they make. But not everybody transitions into coaching when their playing days are over, even less do it successfully. Some of the greatest ever tried and failed, because it takes a completely different skillset.
They can’t make the plays anymore, But they can make a plan based on their experiences setting their players up for success. They can find ways to motivate and get the team to rally together as one. It’s the exact same in the business world. You’re not in the proverbial trenches anymore, but you can draw on those experiences to set your team up for success. Let them prove and show off their strengths by giving them the business world’s version of the X’s and O’s. Having said that…
Don’t think. Do.
The biggest part of being a respected leader is trusting the self-confidence that got you where you are. There will be countless voices chirping in your head about any number of things at any given moment, but the most important one should always be our own.
There are numerous examples of famous leaders, from a more authoritarian Steve Jobs to the more laissez-faire style of a Richard Branson. The one thing they all have in common, regardless of personality or management style: is they’re not afraid to act on their gut emotions. In turn, their employees are more open to doing the same, creating a culture of success.
It means you can never be satisfied.
People at the top need to be hungrier for success than they ever were, to stay (metaphorically) hungry. How can you inspire the people to produce amazing work when the person at the top is happy coasting off what they accomplished in the past? The most famous and successful companies are always looking for constant improvement, ways to innovate and inspire. Some of the most famous cautionary tales come from when leadership was scared to buck the status quo.
One of the most famous examples happened way back in 2000. Netflix was prepared to sell their company to Blockbuster for $50 million – Blockbuster’s CEO said no. They were the kings of renting content; so the line of thinking was, “Why pay a competitor when we’re already number one?” We know what’s happened since then. Netflix paved the way to the future of media streaming, and Blockbuster…well there are still apparently a few around. It’s a good story to remember any time you feel content with where the company presently is.
Despite the cautionary tale, embrace failure.
Nobody bats a hundred. But the ones that don’t take risks stand to lose it all like those in our last example. Having the confidence to continually challenge what you and your team is doing, and to listen to others who have out of the box ideas… is the only way to keep people invigorated. To give a company the chance for continued success.
You may not know who Shigeru Miyamoto is, but you know his work. It’s all come from taking risks. He revitalized a fledgling video game industry when he created Mario for Nintendo in the 80’s, as an accomplishment as he is, he easily could have skated on for the rest of his career. But he always strove for innovation, leading to the Wii. The follow up console, the Wii U, vastly undersold and became a financial concern for Nintendo.
It would’ve been easy for him to be scared off of more radical innovations after that disappointment. So what did he do? Created another revolutionary gaming console, the mobile-console hybrid called the Switch. It would’ve been easy to play it safe after the previous console’s failures, but by taking away what didn’t resonate with consumers, and expanding on what did he created the hottest console in the world.
Let people know when you mess up
You know what they say – nobody’s perfect. A simple, yet scary and difficult at the same time, is to let people know when you’ve miscalculated something. Beyond this, taking the blame for the inevitable hiccups is a great way to build morale. Going back to the sports analogy, oftentimes you’ll hear people say “it’s the coaches fault when they lose, and the players’ when they win. In a business setting, that line of thinking can invigorate everybody there – if you ‘ve seen the guy who signs the checks take the blame you’re more willing to go to bat for them.
Beyond building camaraderie and loyalty, in doing so you show you’re committed to outside the box thinking, taking the risks that all ascendant companies do. When you know the higher ups are willing take chances, you are as well. Leading the way to ensure the play it safe culter method doesn’t infect your business.
Be clear on expectations at every level. Yourself included.
Outline clearly defined goals, and let everybody know what they are.. Big picture, little picture, everything in between. It’s a simple task, but one that’s easy to forget or forego due to the business of life. Yet taking the time to do so results in a more efficient you, as well as your team. Breaking huge projects down to the most micro of levels can make them seem more doable. And when everybody knows your big picture vision it gives them a sense of unity, committed to accomplishing it as one. Click To Tweet
Businesses are a lot like the people who work for them – they all have their own unique culture. They all respond differently to different stimuli. They grow and change. Your leadership style should reflect and adapt to what’s resonating and what’s not. In order to do so you’ve got to know your people as much as possible, see what you can do to allow them to flourish.
When you get to the bottom of things, success always starts at the top.