There’s no shortage of leadership information. In fact, there’s enough stuff on “leadership” to keep your head spinning. There are leadership coaches, seminars, webinars, articles, Facebook Lives, Clubhouse groups, and the list goes on.
Heck, I even wrote an award-winning book called, No-Compromise Leadership: A Higher Standard of Leadership Thinking & Behavior.
FACT: To truly understand the depth, thinking, and disciplines of leadership, you have to live and experience it. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle. You can read all the how-to’s, but you won’t fully understand “how to” ride a bicycle until you start pedaling one.
Vision, empowerment, values, finances, people management, decision making, and all the other stuff that goes into leadership is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, to help you on your path to continuous improvement, here are the six gotta-knows about leadership:
1) It’s OK not to be a complete leadership package: If you know anything about DISC behavior styles (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance), you know people have different natural strengths. Some are more dominant and direct, while others are more social, impatient, and outgoing. Some are steady, deliberate, and less assertive, while others are more about attention to detail, facts, and being organized. KEY: Because no one excels at all four behavior styles, leaders need to play to their strengths and surround themselves with others whose styles complement and support them. Simply put, don’t beat yourself up trying to be a complete leadership package. It’s not going to happen, and that’s OK.
2) It’s OK not to have all the answers: As number one states, a leader can’t be all things to all people; a leader doesn’t have to have the answer or solution to every question and problem. Too often, problems persist or get worse because the leader is stuck or makes a bad decision. KEY: Great leaders not only make the best decisions based on their strengths, but they also lean on and seek guidance from those with more expertise and deeper understanding to make the best decisions. Simply put, you don’t have to have all the answers yourself, but, as the leader, you’re still responsible for securing and implementing the best decisions.
3) It’s OK to have self-doubt: Being highly overconfident gets too many leaders in trouble. No leader is invincible. And business is seriously unforgiving for miscalculations and risky, or just plain bad, decisions. KEY: A little self-doubt is a good thing. It keeps you real. It maintains your objectivity. It makes you understand the consequences should things not go as planned. More importantly, a little self-doubt is your internal mechanism to keep challenging yourself to get better. Lastly, too much self-doubt will prevent you from achieving your full potential as a leader.
4) It’s not OK to compromise your vision and values: This point may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. As an owner and leader, you don’t have a direct boss. You can “kind of/sort of” do whatever you want. But that’s where many owners get into trouble. KEY: Owners/leaders who take liberties and entitlements at the expense of the company destroy their cultures. Owners/leaders serve three distinct entities — the company, its employees, and the customers. Your vision and how you live your values represent the energy and the heartbeat of your company. Your vision is your “why.” Your values represent who you are as a leader and a company.
5) It’s not OK to abdicate full control: There are owners that dream of a simpler time just doing services and having a “manager” run the company. Others envision being absentee owners one day. If there is one absolute, it’s that salons and spas will never run on autopilot. KEY: “Systems set you free.” The more systematized your salon/spa, the more predictable it functions. But building and managing systems take time, work, and relentless coaching. Even when you get your systems dialed in, never give up full control of your company’s finances. Why? Money makes people do stupid things.
6) It’s not OK to accept a situation you don’t like: It can get ugly and stressful when financial, employee challenges, and other problems, get out of hand. Even worse is the feeling of being stuck in a hostage management situation. KEY: All businesses experience ups and downs. The difference in how high the ups are and how low the downs are is how quickly the leader takes action. Damn near every ugly business experience can be traced to some form of leadership inaction. Simply put, it’s your choice how long you stay in a situation you don’t like. More importantly, the situation will only get worse the longer you delay taking decisive action. Taking appropriate action is the work of leadership.
Here’s my challenge to you: The message here is that leadership abilities evolve over time. Every challenge or problem is a learning experience so that you can do better next time.
Being the best leader you can be is not only a worthy pursuit — it is a journey all leaders must take to evolve and grow.
So, it’s OK to be a work in progress — as long as you are committed to making progress as a leader.
This article originally appeared on the Strategies blog.
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