What makes a leader successful? Great leaders have a certain quality about them. These qualities of leadership inspire confidence and hard work. It simultaneously instills a “we’re all in this together” kind of camaraderie and a faith that someone is, indeed, steering everything in the right direction. It is leadership, and it’s not as innate, as unachievable, as you might think. Rather, it’s a quality you can learn to project:
1. Believe in yourself and your team without ego
Don’t be an egomaniac; be confident. When you stand behind the product or service your company is offering and know that it’s good, you project a calming and inspiring image to everyone around you. Clients and employees especially want to believe in you, but they won’t if you don’t have faith in yourself. Believe, too, that your team has your back; you aren’t alone in this.
2. Don’t do anything that humiliates you
You may not always be thrilled with the hard work and long days involved with getting a company off the ground, but that doesn’t mean you should feel troubled by it. You are running the show. If you don’t like the way a client does business, walk away. If you feel taken advantage of or abused, end the relationship cordially and move on to better things. It’s your job to take care of yourself and your employees.
3. Draw lines, be firm, and set precedence
Taking on work that isn’t financially feasible (i.e., working for less than you’re worth or working harder than you’re being paid to) will never get your company off the ground. Be firm about your bottom line and stand behind it. You aren’t in business to go bankrupt or foster abusive relationships. If you allow a client to make unreasonable demands at ungodly hours of the night, if you allow employees to walk all over you and spread negativity, the trends will continue. Draw your lines early and build your company on a solid foundation.
4. Don’t spread yourself too thin
You’re eager and that’s great—but you can’t do everything yourself. Hire and partner with the best people; trust and empower your people. No one will benefit from you burning out because you tried to do it all yourself.
Today is something you’ve never done before. Learn from it and don’t be too hard on yourself or your employees. Learn under fire; learn from your mistakes and successes. Learn to listen. Clients don’t want to be talked over, and employees want their concerns heard. Learn how to get the most from the people vital to your organizations success.
There are many inspiring examples from current executives to learn from, too, including:
- Mark Zuckerberg: World’s youngest billionaire and founder/creator of Facebook, where roughly 900 million people have accounts to his service.
- Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger: Founders of Instagram, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
- Sarah Prevette: Creator/founder of Sprouter.com, a site that connected young entrepreneurs to the business answers they need.
- Gianna Driver: Founder of Gianna Fair Trade, which sells products made by a worldwide network of women living in impoverished areas.
Wherever and whenever you get your inspiration, remember that your employees are getting at least some of their inspiration from you. Keep up the good work.