Success starts at the top and when it comes to successful companies and organizations it begins with leadership. But what makes a leader great? There are many steps that lead someone to being a great leader, but for brevity’s sake, consider these four points:
1. Clarity of Purpose
Making money is crucial to paying the bills, but what is it all for? Great leaders are goal-oriented for something larger than themselves. They are ambitious not simply for themselves but for the whole. They will do what needs to be done in service of this greater cause, even if it means their own personal sacrifice.
If your organization doesn’t have a purpose beyond building revenue and increasing profits, and that purpose isn’t clear and communicated, your role as a leader is tremendously hindered and it will eventually affect your bottom line. People don’t want to buy what you’re selling, they want to believe in what you do.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Why do you get up in the morning?
- What is your purpose?
- How can you incorporate giving back to the community into your business model?
- What drives your team?
Now that you have your purpose in focus, consider the path forward. What are you moving towards? What is your personal and professional vision for your business or organization? This means you have a plan and milestones to ensure you stay on track.
A great leader considers the team they have and their vision for the future as well. Together they hold each other accountable and celebrate accomplishments. Decision making is easier when you have vision. Ask yourself, “does the choice get you to your destination or hinder your progress?”
A great leader doesn’t rule with an iron fist and certainly doesn’t make every single decision. A great leader trusts their team to make good choices. With purpose and vision in place, trusting your team is easier because everyone is playing by the same rules with the same goals in mind.
A great leader doesn’t micromanage, they don’t have to! Even middle managers shouldn’t have to micromanage their team. If the teams are trained, they should be trusted to perform.
What does trust look like. According to professor, researcher, and author Brené Brown, trust requires these key components: boundaries, reliability, accountability, confidentiality, integrity, non-judgmental, and generosity.
4. People Over Profits
Do you know how demoralizing it is to have someone in leadership not know your name or what you do? Of course a CEO of a Fortune 500 isn’t going to know the name and job title of every person their company employs, but they should know the names of the people in their circle.
Great leaders know their team. They get to know them outside of what that person can do for them or the company, they know their strengths and weaknesses. Great leaders know what their team members need to be successful, what motivates them to succeed, and what they need to keep them motivated and energized.
Great leaders set short and long term goals and hold their team accountable to those goals. They create and nurture other leaders who then do the same in every department at every level. They push people to be better versions of themselves and inspire them to inspire others.
Great leaders know their employees are as human as they are. They have families and health conditions. They may have an ailing parent or child they’re taking care of. Great leaders consider the external people as part of their team and make decisions that impact these people in a beneficial way. This means having good insurance options, retirement plans, profit sharing, and leave policies. This also means investing in your people’s vision for themselves. Contributing to their education, spurring them to greater heights and personal growth opportunities.
Believe in your people and their vision, and they will believe in you and your vision. You will find your team more inspired to work, engaged at work, and more productive because when the company succeeds, they too succeed at a level beyond a regular paycheck.
Does this sound too good to be true?
It’s absolutely attainable to achieve. It won’t be perfect, we’re all human after all.
Check out the lives of some of these 5 great leaders in business you may not know:
- Carol Tomé – is the CEO of UPS and former CEO of Home Depot during which time Home Depot grew from 400 stores to 2,200 with revenue of nearly $100 billion. After coming out of retirement, Tomé took the helm at UPS in 2020 where she had served on their board for over 16 years prior. In her own words: “UPS is a company with a proud past and an even brighter future. Our values define us. Our culture differentiates us. Our strategy drives us. At UPS we are customer first, people led and innovation driven.”
- Eric S. Yuan – We’ve all become familiar with Zoom since the pandemic, and Eric Yuan, CEO and Founder of Zoom is responsible for making it one of the most important tools to keep people connected during this time. His leadership style is very hands-on. In his own words: “During the early stages of Zoom, I personally emailed every customer who canceled our service.”
- Indra Nooyi – former CEO of PepsiCo was not immune from controversy, she expanded the company’s revenue while at the same time increasing access to healthier food options. Nooyi is considered one of the most influential women in business and when asked in a New York Times interview why there aren’t more women leaders in business, she said, “The issue is not women in the C-suite, it’s a leaky pipeline. The pipeline is leaking at the early stages. Because we get enough women coming into the workforce in various stages. But by the time they get to Level 2 and Level 3, they just drop out of the workforce for several reasons.”
She continued, “One that can be addressed quickly is this tremendous unconscious bias. On top of that, the time that they get to Level 2 in a company is when they will have families, and many companies are not mandated to give parental leave. People just drop out of the workforce, and then we wonder why they don’t go up to the top. We can ill afford to be a country where women drop out of the workforce.”
4. James A. Bell – former interim president, corporate president, and CFO of The Boeing Company. Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney described Bell’s influence by stating: “As corporate president, [Bell] instilled a focus on excellence and teamwork by driving tighter integration across our businesses and functions.” Bell now serves on the Board at Apple, bringing his skills of strategic planning and leadership skills in complex organizational structures to the table.
5. Karen Lynch – president and CEO of CVS Health, Karen was named Forbes’ “50 over 50” and Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Watch Karen describe why she is so passionate about healthcare in this short video.
As you can see, I’m passionate about improving organizations at the root with the leaders, and I’m constantly looking outside the box for my own personal inspiration.
Let’s talk about strategies ProFusion can help your organization implement to improve right where you are, right now, to get where you want to be in the next year, two years, five years, and beyond. Contact me today for a free consultation!