It can take years to become an overnight success as a leader. However, if you are willing to do the work and follow this advice you can certainly expect to cut that time in half!

Take the CEO if Nike Inc, Mark Parker for example. Since Parker became CEO in early 2006, Nike’s shares have surged 438%, far exceeding the 69% notched by the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period. Lauding the company’s “strong performance under Mr. Parker’s leadership,” and to provide an incentive for the top executive to stay at the Oregon-based company, Nike’s  NKE  compensation committee decided to grant Parker a restricted stock award with a target value of $30 million.

You may not be a Mark Parker, but the whole point of his success is that he is a phenomenal leader. So with this in mind, here are 5 top tips for your leadership success:-

1.Be bold

You can’t inspire teams with small (or no) goals and you will not create a significant improvement in performance with small goals either.

Aim high and set ambitious goals but not impossible goals. Instil a sense of purposeful urgency.

Be as demanding of others as you are of yourself – set high standards and expect the best.

Sketch and supportively challenge your team, push their boundaries and get them really thinking about how they can do things differently.

2.Simplify

Keep things simple, complex goals are rarely achieved. The more you can simplify things, the more your people will be able to clearly focus their efforts. And as a result, the more they will understand what’s important (and therefore what’s not) and the more likely they will be able to come up with new solutions or approaches.

All too often, people and teams are confused by following too many targets. Our guidance is always to set a handful of key goals, generally three to four. Keep it simple, keep it focused. Less delivers more!

3.Challenge current thinking

Often, it’s the current ways of working that limit performance and it’s the process that needs to be changed. Challenge everything, especially any limitations which your team may feel exist.

Ask people, “Why do we do it this way?” Limitations are usually self-imposed and if questioned, they can often be identified and easily removed.

Don’t ask your team what is holding them back, ask them what they need to overcome this obstacle. Get them thinking about solutions not problems, what CAN be done, rather than what CAN’T

4.Lead by example

Leadership is about behaviour first, skills second. You manage things, but you can lead people.

Act as you would want your people to behave, but also understand and recognise the subtleties that your role is different from that of your employees.

Consider the concept of ‘the shadow of the leader’ – your shadow follows you in everything you say and do. What shadows are you casting?

Everyday you’re under the spotlight  and what you personally do (and don’t) will set the benchmark for your people – don’t expect more from others than you give yourself – you have to give it before you  get it!

5.Your success depends on THEIR success

You will only ever be as good as your people!

To succeed as a leader, you need to shift your focus from “me” to “we” and your performance will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, others will evaluate your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all!

The key is to focus on results not just tasks – and have the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.

So recruit the best people around, not simply the best you can get. Hire for fit, train for skill and when the opportunity presents itself, recruit people who are better than you.

As a leader, your role is to create heroes, not try to be one!

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