Many things have been said about leadership some good and some bad, but the one thing that has stuck with me has been the awareness of leadership. Now when I say awareness, I don’t be mean micro-managing your staff or applying dual layers of approval. I mean awareness of the atmosphere you create in your company. Different companies will have different cultures, but at the very least you should think about these areas:
You create the atmosphere
This might sound like something out of the mouth of Tony Robbins, but it’s true. As the CEO you set the tone of your organization. You create the universal truths of your organization and you decide how that organization functions as a team. Consequently if you have a dysfunctional organization, you need look no further than your desk.
Let failure be your guide
This too sounds counterintuitive, but the thing about failure is that it highlights things that have to change. We’ve seen how these huge companies have fallen, mostly due to the arrogance that their way is the way customers want. Your customers are your lifeblood and rather than treat them as a necessary evil, create an atmosphere where your employees are encouraged to learn from a perceived failure. Your staff failures tell you that something in the way you want them to complete a task is not working. This brings me to my next point…
Change the way you perceive errors
Failure is one of those things that are going to occur no matter what you do; what can change is the way you perceive it. Is an error catastrophic? Can it lead to something better and who says it’s wrong anyways? If you answer these questions before you write something off as an error, you can create something truly innovative.
Pass on knowledge as necessary, teach strategic thinking
A lot of people are going to disagree with this, but hear me out. As a consultant the bane of my existence are people who have been doing their job the same way for the last 30 years. It’s a problem because repetition does not equal knowledge. If you study really successful companies, take Google and Zappos, they teach staff knowledge of company policies and systems but fully expect staff to come with their own knowledge and ability to solve problems. Pass on what is necessary and let them come to the rest. Give them real knowlege that they understand on a visceral level. If you equip your staff with the tools to think strategically, you create a team of fixers and in business there is no greater asset.
Awareness is a huge business asset because once you are aware, your competition has to start playing your game. Stop chasing them and choose to be the kind of company that they will have to chase. Choose to be the company that will create the kind of innovation and leadership that sets industry standards and not follow them.