The shockwave that's been hitting the world economy demands that entrepreneurs react, and react differently than they have in the past. Unfortunately, the pathways toward effective action aren't always clear. There's no one set of rules to follow during turbulent times that say "This is the best way to go."
Naturally, most executives worry more about sinking the boat than missing the boat, which is why so many organizations, even in flush times, are so cautious and conservative. You don't have to be as bold as Kellogg or as daring as Steve Jobs. But don't use the long shadow of the economic crisis as an excuse to downsize your dreams or stop taking chances.
The challenge for leaders in every field is weather to let fear dictate your attitude and actions. Are their opportunities during a recession? There are always opportunities. The question is where are they? What sort of changes will I have to make to take advantage of these opportunities? Just remember, someone is always makes money during a recession so grasp a clear-sighted confidence about the future, develop a plan and commitment how you'll address the challenges that come.
We have to look at a recession as an opportunity to regroup, rethink, repair, rework, renew and recommit to being at your best for your company. It starts with attitude and it is translated in action in relationships and in future development plans.
Successful leaders possess:
An ability to see things as they can be and not as they are.
Leaders understand the importance of seeing the big picture and what can be accomplished with a little bit of hard work and smart work. By focusing on things as they can be and not as they are leaders make decisions that move their business forward and can be examples for their business partners.
The ability to stay upbeat even when those around them are not. Have you ever been around somebody who is always positive? These are the types of people that are fun to be around!
Leaders stay upbeat and put out positive thoughts which attract people to them. They take the glass is half full approach to everything they do.
A few Top Leadership Traits:
- Continuous Development – Smart people have always sought out useful leadership books and learning material that will help them along the path to happiness and leadership. Most these days tend to be rather disappointing, but one brilliant idea that has recently captured my attention is “Developing the leader within you by John Maxwell (in fact read all his books on leadership and team work, you can never go wrong with John Maxwell). A perfect complement to this is “The Ultimate Leadership Guide” which contains all the core teachings of 30 top leadership books, which is simply an essential ‘crash course’ in the principles you need to know to further your career and even find happiness in other areas of your life!
- Fairness/Equity - Fairness is one of the key criteria by which employees measure their superiors. Fairness is one of Herzberg’s ‘hygiene’ factors from his popular leadership theory. This means that if you are fair, employees will not be inherently motivated, but merely content. Very little upside if you possess this trait but large potential negative effects on motivation if you lack it.
- Adaptability and Flexibility - A clear fact in life is that many things you enjoy will change, and many things you despise will quickly improve. As a leader, you must be able to cope with negative change, and also be able to quickly grab opportunities as soon as they appear. Less hesitation and more asking the question “Ok, so how can I make the best of this situation”.
- Human Understanding – A leader that can understand their employees and really be able to emphasis with the workforce or team as a whole will ultimately be a far more effective leader. Only by being able to put yourself in the shoes of your employees will you be able to make decisions that will enthuse and motivate your staff.
- Charisma – The skill of oratory has been perfectly demonstrated recently by Barrack Obama’s surge in popularity en route to the white house and his continued popularity now that he has gained office. The ability to speak confidently and with meaning is a rare one, and carries much merit for those few who possess it. Increased influence and persuasion is just one of the positive benefits of being a leader with charisma.
- Ability to Listen – The fantastic leaders thorough history were also good listeners. Drawing upon the expertise and ideas of all those around you will improve your decision making. It follows that leaders who listen well simply make better decisions.
- Confidence – Confidence flows through a team just like cheerfulness or a hardworking attitude. If the leader shows hesitation, self-doubt, or a lack of ambition, it will infect the rest of the team. Enthusiastically following an unconfident will really test employee’s attitude, and this is something you don’t want to be doing. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to enthusiastically follow your lead.
- Consistency – This is a similar point to fairness. If you fail to be consistent with your attitude, decisions or behaviour, you will be causing unrest in your team.
- Passion and Motivation – It goes without saying that a leadership trait that will be admired is your passion for what you do. Whatever your role, people will respect the fact that you take pride in your work, you enjoy it, and that you will therefore try your hardest to succeed. Passion and motivation will always trump formal leadership training or leadership coaching.
- Trustworthiness - Ethics and trust has to come right at the top of the most important leadership traits for one simple reason. Nobody will obey, follow, or be inspired by someone they distrust. A good reputation, likeability and respect will be absolutely impossible if you’re labelled as a liar. Regardless of their own mal-practises, people will never be able to associate with an untrustworthy character.
A simple definition of leadership is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.