Today we’re going to talk about the essential elements of leadership. If you’re an early careerist and you’re just beginning your life of leadership I want to share five things that are absolutely critical to ensure your success.
You’ve got to be a good role mode and that means you have to have integrity. You have to talk about it and you have to live it everyday. And the higher you go in the organization the more important that becomes.Be compassionate and empathetic. Nobody wants to work for a jerk.Be accountable. You must hold yourself accountable as well as those around you. And you must be consistent.
Be a good communicator. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be the voice of God or somebody who could be on the radio, but it does mean you have to be inspiring and you have to speak with conviction.One of the most successful CEOs in modern history was a guy named Jack Welch with GE Corporation. As a young man Jack had a big time stuttering problem, but he overcame that because he spoke with conviction and he was inspiring.
Stay current. Have you heard the term lifelong education? Well, that’s really true. If you’re going to succeed in this highly digital, highly competitive environment you have to be a subject matter expert leader. You have to have a deep reservoir of what’s happened in the past, what’s occurring today, and what you anticipate will happen in the future.
Embrace change. Long ago there was a county judge in Texas who said, “Gentlemen, the train is on the tracks. You’re either going to be on the train or you’re going to be on the tracks.” In times of tumultuous change, being on the train is a good place to be. You want to get out in front. You don’t want to dig your heels in and get run over.
Listen to your customers. Respect them. If you think you know more than they do then I invite you to look at the Fortune 500 list in the 1960s and compare it to what it is today. There are only about 65 companies on both lists.