Being a leader simply means that you’re willing to be responsible for the people around you. I think that we mistake leaders for people that remind us of Politicians, Daredevil CEOs, or Bruce Willis in Armageddon (who, by the way, I think is still alive because he managed to create a rescue pod from asteroid material to safely re-enter space).
In reality though, I’ve learned more from my teachers and parents then I could ever learn from Sir Richard Branson. No offense Sir, it’s just that they’re closer to me than you are, but if you read this get at me. I got some ideas…
Here are some things that I’ve learned along my unlikely path that now has me as a CEO of an organization comprised of the most talented people that I’ve ever worked with:
1. Failing leads to success
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes. I hope you do, because I’ve learned more from pitches that I’ve lost than the ones that I’ve won. It’s a humbling experience to lose which I think increases the effect of those lessons because we never want to feel that pain again. So make sure to always focus your energy on the positives, even when you’re just trying to make lemonade out of lemons. If you have some time, pick up the book Start up Nation. It highlights the Israeli business culture that sees failure as equally important as hitting it big in business.
2. Short Term Memory
Life is amazing at throwing curve balls at you. Whether it be at home or at the workplace, you’re going to get tested and stressed. In those moments of weakness you will:
- Fire off an email you wish you could take back the moment you hit send
- Not have compassion when you need it
- Piss off a coworker
- Piss off a client
- Piss off the dog, wife, brother, wife’s brother etc
Exercise that short term memory of yours in these moments. Stress is contagious and easily perpetuated and I personally believe that if I can break that cycle by turning it into an opportunity to learn from it, then I mitigate future stress and we all win.
3. Patience, it’s about the little things
Don’t feel like people expect you change everything when you enter into a leadership role. We’re creatures of habit and change within an organization’s culture and its processes takes time. More important, it takes patience because we all hear and experience things differently than our colleagues. Which means that some of us take to change quicker than others. Trust that in time, you’ll get there and by celebrating the small wins, you’ll appease that feeling that you’re on your way and that you’re doing something. With enough of those small wins, you’ll look back one day and realize that you’ve come a long way.
There is no master bible secretly shared amongst leaders that’s the end all be all guide to leadership. You’re going to have to use intuition and trust it. We all feel when something might be off or something feels right. Practicing the art of listening quietly will give you greater access to your intuition. Meaning, when you’re in a meeting, or you’re presented with an opportunity to make a decision, be present. That inner monologue of ours can be very loud and distracting, but when you can quiet that inner voice, it’s an amazing way to have easier access to your intuition. Which will lead to better decisions being made.
5. Shared Vision
Every decision that we make or don’t make impacts everyone at an organization. As a leader you’re witness to it all day every day. The challenge though is that people have a hard time seeing the world from a perspective that falls outside of their desk bubble. At the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to beat the shared vision drum. To highlight how our decisions affect one another because we all have a vested interest in the success of our organizations.
I hope that some of what you just read inspired some thought and if you’re interested in continuing the conversation, feel free to reach out through our contact us form on our site. At the end of the day, we’re all connected in one way or another and inspiring positive change is ultimately in our best interests.