5 Secrets Every Aspiring Leader Should Know

Whether you’re trying to disrupt an entire industry or simply spearhead a one-off project, these five secrets will help you become a better leader.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” But persistence and tenacity, while important, are not a complete recipe for successful leadership. Truly visionary leaders not only believe in themselves and in their organization’s mission, but also in the employees whose efforts ultimately make or break a company — and by proxy, their own success as a leader.

For managers who want to inspire employees to hold themselves accountable and achieve Key Results, we have five secrets that the major players have already figured out.

1. Be Authentic

Just because you’re inspired by Steve Jobs or JP Morgan doesn’t mean you should become Steve Jobs or JP Morgan. Identify your unique leadership style, and then adjust it to address the needs of your employees and the specific conditions your business is facing. Your employees don’t want Mark Zuckerberg as their boss, they want YOU: so be authentic and tailor your leadership to the real challenges that your organization and employees are grappling with.

2. Consistency is King

In 1996, Howard Schultz had one ambitious (but straightforward) goal: open 2,000 Starbucks locations by the year 2000. Over the next four years, Schultz routinely reminded his employees that this was what every single member of the organization should be working towards. Given the astounding number of Starbucks locations today, you might find it less than shocking that Schultz did in fact achieve his goal. In fact, he far surpassed it: by January 1, 2000, there were 3,501 Starbucks locations across the globe.

Clarity is key, and consistency in communication helps drive an organization forward and ensures employees aren’t distracted from their common goal. Set measurable Key Results for every employee to work towards — and most importantly, stick to them.

3.Dress for the Job You Want

You don’t need a fancy title or a corner office to gain respect as a leader. The opportunity to lead others towards success exists at every level of an organization, and those who exhibit the right skills rapidly rise through the ranks. Say yes to responsibility, and be prepared to take it. Know the part, dress the part, and when an opportunity presents itself, dive in.

4.Lead By Example

 Leaders don’t just oversee employees — they also demonstrate behavior that others can look to as an example of accountability, transparency, and advocacy. They mentor employees and help everyone around them to be accountable for pushing the company towards its Key Results. While not every manager is a born leader, these are skills that can be honed and developed on the job. Lead by example, and the rest will fall into place.

5. Recognize Every Employee’s Efforts

Leaders recognize that what might be a small moment for the company could represent weeks of hard work by one individual employee or team. They empower those around them by offering support, advice, and words of encouragement, recognizing that these efforts ultimately contribute to the company’s Key Results.

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