Former Olympic 1500m champion Lord Sebastian Coe, is the new president of the IAAF, the body that governs world athletics. He beat rival Sergey Bubka, a former Olympic pole vault champion, by 115 votes to 92. One of his first tasks will be to deal with the fall-out from a series of doping allegations to hit athletics. But what do other people this of his election? Well, from a UK point of view, reaction has been very positive. Steve Cram, who won silver behind Coe at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, told BBC Radio 5 live: “It’s a great result for the sport.”
He added Coe was the “right guy” to lead the IAAF, praising his leadership qualities and the respect he commands. All the hallmarks of a leader!
However, it can take many years to become an overnight success as a leader. But you are willing to do the work and follow this advice, you can certainly expect to cut that time in half!
None of the tips in today’s blog are difficult to implement, but they are extremely powerful and if you apply them, you will see a step change in your team’s performance.
Here are 5 Top Tips for leadership success:-
1.Go for respect
Good leaders work hard to earn (not demand) the respect of others.
As people, we all have a natural tendency to want to be liked by others. But what happens when the desire to be liked interferes with your ability to lead?
Effective leaders recognise it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They practise ‘tough love’ and can make those hard decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.
Your people must be respected and buy in to you as leader before they’ll buy into your vision!
2.Build on strengths
Everyone focuses on trying to improve weaknesses and fault fixing. You can distinguish yourself as a leader by paying attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the greatest return for your investment.
Think about it: where is the greatest area of opportunity for you and your company?
Is it by trying to get better at those things you don’t do well – pouring all your energies into them and simply taking your strengths for granted? Or is it by developing and refining those things you’re already great at and making them even stronger, whilst trying to raise the bar a little higher on the weaker areas??
Success comes from playing to your strengths and managing (not ignoring) your weaknesses.
Communication is critical – you can never over communicate!
Listen, consult, involve, and explain ‘why’ as well as ‘what’ needs to be done. Take time to listen and really understand people. Walk the job, meet your people in their workspace – ask and learn more about what they do and how they feel.
It’s true you can communicate poorly, or communicate and say nothing, but if your messages are clear, then communicate, communicate, communicate!
Communicate your goals, communicate your plans and communicate your progress so that your team knows what to do, how to do it and the results that they are achieving.
4.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.
5.Find a mentor
You are ultimately responsible for your own success. Along the way, you will encounter a host of obstacles and challenges to be overcome. Of course you won’t have all the answers – however as a leader, you’ll be expected to – your people will naturally be looking to you for direction and decisiveness. So where do YOU turn for support?
Seek out an experienced mentor who can guide you through the landmines that exist in every organisation – someone who can coach, challenge and broaden your own thinking, someone you can trust and can confide in, someone to act as your sounding board and provide you with another perspective.
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