© Provided Dennis Zink
It may seem obvious that being a good leader will have a lot to do with your success. But how do you measure it?
A simple definition of a leader is someone with followers. The top quality of a leader is the ability to attract quality followers.
What’s driving leaders forward and what’s holding them back?
• Business owners report positivity as their No. 1 leadership trait (47%), above passion (27%), personaility (26%) and decisiveness (23%).
• Entrepreneurs feel they’re most lacking on holding others accountable (67%), which may explain why 86% of them report working 40-plus hours a week.
For almost three quarters of entrepreneurs, preparing for more success in the new year means strategic planning, with the primary intention of improving sales revenue growth (50%) and profitability (44%). For those with strategic plans, the majority (85%) intend to review and adjust their strategy quarterly or annually. As for the 24% without strategic plans, it’s not so much that they don’t see the value in them (22%), it’s just that they are “too busy” (50%).
Strategic planning is an essential function for small business success. Entrepreneurs who are operating without a strategic plan because they are “too busy” are likely working in their business (i.e., putting out day-to-day fires) rather than on their business.
The No. 1 responsibility as a leader was fulfilling our vision, mission and goals. This outranked keeping customers satisfied (21%) and keeping employees happy and productive (15%).
If your company’s vision, mission and goals are your No. 1 priorities, strategic planning should take precedence over everyday customer and employee concerns.
In conducting my Zink poll with key players in my network, I received 66 responses. In order of importance, from high to low, the most popular responses to the question, “What are the top qualities that a leader should possess?” were:
1. Inspirational communicator. 2. Visionary. 3. Open and transparent. 4. Integrity. 5. Empathy. 6. Decisiveness. 7. Focus. 8. Critical thinking skills. 9. Listening skills. 10. Lead by example.
The “10 Secrets to Success” by Investor’s Business Daily:
1. Positivity. 2. Goal planning. 3. Acting on goals. 4. Lifelong learning. 5. Persistence. 6. Being analytical. 7. Focusing time and money. 8. Innovating. 9. Communicating and motivating others. 10. Being honest and dependable, taking responsibility.
Here are some other practices of successful leaders that I’ve collected over the years:
Sean Douglas, a U.S. Air Force veteran, motivational and inspirational speaker, master resilience trainer, life coach, and author of TheSuccessCorps.com, says, “Leaders lead from the front, managers lead from the back.” Douglas believes that the attitude of an organization will always reflect its leadership.
Good leaders take a group from point A’ to point B, sometimes in spite of constraints, differences of opinion and competition. Leaders differ from managers because managers stabilize and restore the status quo but leaders push boundaries.
Finally, some additional tips. I think that in addition to the aforementioned leadership traits, it is important to be results-oriented, have emotional intelligence, be flexible, optimistic, accountable and respectful. It is also important to be curious, ask for feedback, know how to delegate and be a student of time management.
If you master most of these behaviors, your chances of success will increase exponentially.
Dennis Zink is an Exit Strategist, business analyst and consultant, a Certified Value Builder and SCORE mentor, and past chapter chair of SCORE Manasota. Dennis created and hosts “Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink,” a nationally syndicated business podcast series and “SCORE Business TV” available at Time4Exit.com. He facilitates CEO roundtables for the Manatee and Venice chambers of commerce. Dennis led a SCORE team to create the Exit Strategy Canvas and Exit Strategy Roadmap program that provides a real world methodology for business equity realization. Email him at dennis@Time4Exit.com.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: BUSINESS ALCHEMIST: Being a good leader increases your chances for business success