Co-founder of Lit Dealer and Kreative Hedgehog, partner at Polda Builders. Digital marketer, entrepreneur and author.
Former Business Analyst at UBS Investment Bank, 33 year-old admirer of the state of extreme exhaustion.
We have been already discussing the importance of leadership on several occasions in our previous posts. But our observations are still ongoing. Despite what it might have been said in other sources being a leader does not always mean to be the loudest or the most energetic. It also doesn’t mean you have to be a high level manager.
We do actually believe that good leader can be found even between the regular employees. And very often they are not the attention seekers.
You probably remember all these statistics about how every statistical citizen have an average salary of x, house of y bedrooms and z times a year goes for holidays. Luckily, such thing thing as “statistical citizen” does not exist. Otherwise we would all have half of a dog and that’s kinda creepy!
Same goes to leadership. You can probably find millions articles describing you a perfect leader. Unfortunately, or maybe luckily, such thing does not exist. Personally I believe it’s a good news. Think about it, how boring it would be if everything could be sort of quantified… Right?
There are however some sort of frameworks you can apply to be a topflight leader. And maybe even better than you could ever imagined. Based on my corporate and entrepreneurial experiences I have come up with these five pillars I believe leadership lies on:
- Emotional Intelligence
- Ethical Doing
- Vision & Accountability
- Understanding of Money
- Passion & Ability to Inspire
Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
The first position on our list is emotional intelligence. Is it because it’s the most important one? Hard to say really and I haven’t thought about the order that much. It’s first probably because it’s been the most popular over the last few years and is super-hyped right now. Do you get the same impression? It seems like everyone is talking about it. That’s crazy, but also pretty cool.
Right, so it’s not the most important of them all, but it’s definitely very, very important. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise and control emotions of yourself, but also other people. If it’s the first time you are seeing this collocation or you haven’t really thought what it actually is that’s the story.
In simple words that means you can understand why you or someone else is acting in specific way and manage those emotions in appropriate manner.
It has to do a lot with empathy and self-awareness. My personal observation is that you can read yours and other people’s emotions well and push the right buttons. It’s the ability to understand what is the motivator for different people in different situation.
Are you beginning to get a picture? High emotional intelligence is so important for every leader because it allows him or her to read the situation and people well and act accordingly. A leader with emotional intelligence will never shout at someone if the situation is already stressful enough.
On the other hand he or she might be more firm if that’s the only way to motivate someone to finally do his best. It’s simply doing the right thing at the right time. Can you learn that? Of course, emotional intelligence is a muscle.
What is Ethical Leadership and Why is it Important
Ethical leadership is also high on this list. Might be because ethics is very high on my personal list of values. I am also pretty sure you too believe it should be undisputed value in everything we do. Not only leadership, but in leadership above all. You might ask yourself why, but you already know the answer. Think about it, I’ll wait…
That’s right – because as a leader you set the standards. If you cheat, steal and laugh at your boss behind his back what do you think your peers and team will do? And that’s not even the worse. It’s not only about giving an example, but first and foremost to be respected.
As you probably know respect has nothing to do with fear. And it’s been said a million times that respect is earned, not forced. So what is the way to earn respect other than acting in ethical way? Let that sink in, hold that thought for a moment and think about it next time you do something.So what is the quicker way to earn #respect other than acting in ethical way? #ethicalLeadership Click To Tweet
Being unethical can work for short period of time and we’ve seen this way too often. Short period of time can be weeks, months or even years, but eventually it always ends with a spectacular failure.
Main reason for that is because other companies do not want to make business with crooks. You might fool someone once or twice, but at some point they will show you a middle finger. And what then? You are forced to deal with other crooks, since no one else wants to deal with. If you haven’t lost all your customers already.
Besides, thanks to your ethical leadership you can attract better employees. And since they are better and can be trusted you actually gain more freedom and you can finally throw away that ridiculous micromanagement hat. So how you do that? Four words:
Vision and Accountability are two Crucial Ingredients
Third pillar of leadership is vision and accountability. The latter is often confused or used interchangeably with responsibility. Incorrectly in my opinion. But it wasn’t always clear for me at the beginning and easiest way for me to understand it was by realising that responsibility is assigned to a task and can be shared.
Meanwhile accountability is one step above – you are not responsible only for the task itself, but you are answerable for the actions and the results as well. Confusing right? Let me put it this way. Responsibility is your duty to perform the task you have been assigned to. Accountability is taking full responsibility for the consequences of the assigned task above and beyond.
Took a while, but I hope now it’s perfectly clear 🙂 it is absolutely crucial for the leader to understand the difference between the two if they want to drive their company forward.
Alongside accountability must walk vision. I have put these two together for a reason. I don’t think you can be accountable if you cannot create even the poor substitute of vision. You just can’t. You have to be able to picture an end result of the specific task. Otherwise how can you make sure it is what you were planning to achieve?
Similarly vision without accountability is only a wish. A dream that will never be fulfilled or a task that will never be accomplished. Period.
What is vision? Ability to see and create better future. Why it’s important? Because it provides you as a leader, and as a result the entire company, with the goal of where we want to be. It is a main driver, motivation and purpose thanks to which we can remain focused and work towards our common goal.
Understanding of Money by Leaders
Another thing every good leader should possess in my opinion is understanding of money. And frankly speaking every human being would benefit from developing this skill. What does it mean exactly? It has nothing to do with knowing what money is. Everybody knows that. It also has nothing to do with counting skills, most people can do basic mathematics.
So what is it then? It is the understanding of how money works, where do they come from and the possible cash flows. You cannot really manage something you don’t understand, right? Hence, it’s important to deepen your knowledge on that topic. To understand your resources and how you can use them well to increase the value of your company.It's crucial for every #leader to understand how #money works, where do they come from and the possible #cashFlows #leadership Click To Tweet
It’s often neglected and brought to a statement that “we either have money, or we don’t”. And it’s partially true, but sometimes it boils down to directing your company’s resources the right way. It’s much more about making the most use of your money than only having them. You want to maximise your investments.
Why it is so important? You have to able to analyse the best possible solution to allocate your resources and create detailed business cases. This way you increase your chances to secure the funds you need.
Especially if you work for big company, but also in case of your own small business. For example when you are applying for a loan to leverage your business. These skills will also help you to be on top of your expenses and taxes. You might find that some things cost you a lot of money, but the ROI is crap.
Why Passionate Leadership Matters
Last, but not least important is passion and with passion comes very often the ability to inspire. It seems like everything has been already said about passion, but I would like to throw in my two cents on that. Fairly short, so please bear with me for a little bit longer and if you read it all massive props for you 🙂
Passion is essential quality for every leader. It’s just indisputable, fair and square. If you are not passionate why would you expect anything more from your employees than just showing up? Do not expect them go the extra mile if you barely got out of bed this morning.
Do you get it? That’s your role to set up the pace and energise people. You might not be the coolest kid on the block, that’s ok. But your work ethic and how you present the goals and tasks matter the most. People will model your behaviour.
It’s one of those things that will drive vision, energise and most importantly ignites others to act. Actually, you know what? I change my mind. It’s THE thing, one and only that makes a true difference and I can see it on my personal example as well. It provides so much potential. This will also result in people more willing to follow you as a leader. You can read more about it below.
Passionate people are way more optimistic and they love their life, simple as that. As a result you are just more willing to do new things, take some risk. This feeling of urgency and constant motivation is just so addicting!
There is no other way and if you do not feel passionate about what you do then you should definitely change the course. Not about being a leader, but about your profession. Maybe you are not meant to sell those cars or to prepare those financial reports. Just saying. Either way I wish you nothing, but success!
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