Before we get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to emphasize the word “skills” in this blog post. I wanted to shy away from using the words “traits” or “characteristics” because skill more accurately describes the ability to be a great leader. It can be learned, it can be practiced, and it can be mastered! A leader is not someone who is naturally the loudest or bossiest of the bunch, as it may be intuitive to think. Here are 5 of the most important skills I believe it takes to be an effective leader:
- Passion and enthusiasm. This might not sound like a skill at first, but anyone who needs to motivate a group of people will quickly learn that it must be practiced! In order to get others up and moving, you have to be excited about an idea yourself. The best way to do this is to first and foremost, promote ideas you are truly passionate about. In these cases, your authenticity will shine through. However, sometimes you may have to get people on board with an important task or project that you are not as passionate about – in these cases, be honest and enthusiastic about why the project is so important. Showing enthusiasm isn’t faking it – it’s having a contagious energy and positivity that will help other to do the same.
- Listening: an open-door policy. As an active CEO running multi-million-dollar international companies, one of my success mantras has been my “open-door policy” with my teams. This means that any one on our teams, whether it was a sales representative, accounting associate, or warehouse staff member – was welcome to talk with me about issues in their department or with the company at any time. It may have been easier to follow the status quo and have a hierarchical management system. However, let me tell you that just being able to listen and show care in this way was so much more effective in building an environment of trust and cooperation.
- Following through on your word. There’s nothing worse than having a friend or associate who does not take action after making a promise, much less a leader. This skill is simple, and yet it goes a long way. Keeping your promises as a leader demonstrates stability, organization, and confidence. Stability is important because when you set a standard for following through on your word, people can count on you to do the same in the future. Organization means that when you have an idea you are excited about – it’s not an empty promise. You will work through all the logistics it takes to make it happen. Finally, confidence is so important especially in times of hardship. Your team members will look to you for guidance and support when the future is uncertain. Make it a habit now to follow through on your word with anyone you interact with in order to master this skill.
- Get good at puzzles: fitting your ideas in with those of your team. The best part about working in a team is being able to listen to everyone’s ideas and collaborate to make something truly amazing come out of it. Your job as a leader is to moderate this process and dictate the final result that comes out of it. Weigh other’s ideas just as heavily as your own, and give them leeway to change and adapt your own original ideas. Solving these types of puzzles is a big responsibility, but it all comes with practice and time!
- The Golden Rule. Finally, in all that we do as friends, family members, co-workers, and leaders – we should always treat others with respect and dignity, as we would expect for ourselves. Sometimes it may be easy to get caught up in the “power trip” that we forget our team members and employees are people too! They deserve our utmost respect and care. Leading by example is the best way to set this standard for anyone you are working with.
I hope these five skills demonstrate to you that a leader is more than just someone who is loud, outgoing, or bossy. Being a true leader requires being able to take initiative, inspire your team, collaborate, and develop trusting and meaningful relationships. Wherever you are on your journey as an entrepreneur or just as a team-player in general, I hope you find these suggestions helpful for you! If you are a CEO or business owner who would like to talk more with me about quality leadership, I’d love to chat with you. Please feel free to schedule a free Discovery Call with me today. As always, thank you so much for reading!
Blessings and Cheers,
Many people ask me: “Wow Joni, you always seem so happy – what’s your secret?” Well today I am going to reveal to you all what that secret is: Happiness is a state of mind. It’s not a feeling, something that is completely controlled by our ever-changing environment, but a purposeful way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, it took me many years to master the art of being happy! It took years of practice, determination, and reshaping my thinking habits. Here are just a few tricks that helped me, and I hope they will help you during your journey as well.
- For every negative thought, have 3 positive thoughts to counterbalance it. This has been one of my most helpful practices in positive thinking and not letting a stressful environment get to me. We may think those small negative thoughts in the back of our minds seem harmless, but if we let them build up they will actually affect the outcome of our future! Isn’t that crazy? I don’t want my future to be dictated by my own fears and negativity, do you? By thinking of 3 positive thoughts for every negative one, I stay happy and calm knowing that I am in control of my own thoughts and my own future.
- Make your health your first priority. We should never sacrifice our health for our work. Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional- make sure you are putting your wellbeing first! My own health was put to the test in 2008 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a mastectomy, many follow up surgeries, and chemotherapy treatments, I gained a new profound sense of appreciation for my own body. This experience heightened my awareness of what’s really important to me and drastically changed my life perspectives. You only have one body and one life to live. For me, my life’s purpose centers around my family and global philanthropy. In order for me to fulfill this purpose, I need to be physically well. When you put your health first in your everyday life, you feel confident and happy knowing that you are doing it for the sake of what really matters to you.
- Believe the impossible is possible. Actually, let me rephrase that – you need to know the impossible is possible. There are so many times when I could have let the negativity of others creep into my mind and affect my actions – if I had I would be in a very different place today. An important aspect of being happy is feeling confident in what you believe and who you are, whether others will support you or not. This doesn’t mean being stubborn or close-minded about taking advice from others, but it means not letting fear or negativity stop you from reaching your goals.
- Make time for activities that you enjoy. This may sound like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how many people I have talked to who tell me they are feeling stressed and unhappy – and just are not making time for their own relaxation and hobbies! We all lead busy and crazy lives, but try to take 30 minutes a day to do some leisurely reading, running, hiking, cooking, underwater basket-weaving- whatever you find therapeutic and relaxing. For me, this means reading, walking my dog, and spending time with my family. Just this small amount of time set aside for yourself can make an enormous difference in your mental health. I don’t know about you, but my brain is the key to keeping my business running, so I just tell myself that taking care of my brain is the same thing as taking care of my business!
I hope you find these tips helpful for you in your journey to finding happiness and balance in your life. If there is anything you take away from this post, just remember to keep life as simple as you can, always be rethinking your priorities, and practice positive thinking. If you are a CEO or business owner who feels overwhelmed or stuck, I’d love to chat with you. Click on this link to schedule a call with me today: Discovery Call. As always, thank you so much for reading!
Blessings and Cheers,