Entrepreneurs are by definition leaders. It takes a leader to see a market need, come up with a product or service to satisfy that need, and then to go out and sell it. Those are all leadership acts in and of themselves. If you are an entrepreneur who has hired contractors or employees, you lead even more, by showing up for those individuals who work for you every day.
I wrote Wind In Your Sails: Vital Strategies That Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Growth for entrepreneurs. Their leadership is what determines how fast their business grows, what employees feel every day, and how their business is perceived both internally and externally. I dedicate an entire chapter of Wind In Your Sails to the entrepreneur him or her self. While written for entrepreneurs, these lessons impact anyone who leads others.
Leaders Set the Tone
Imagine that everything you say is heard through an enormous megaphone. One that clearly carries your voice to every corner of your organization. What you say, and equally importantly, everything that you do is amplified a 100-fold when you are a leader. Everyone watches for the slightest little nuance of how you are showing up.
If you lead a group or organization and have a bad day, your employees will assume that the company is having a bad day. It takes courage and often the help of a coach or mentor, to look at your behaviors. To dig deeply into how you are behaving and showing up for those around you. If you want different results, you have to be prepared to acknowledge and change your own behaviors so that you can show up differently.
Celebrate the Wins
As a high performing individual I am all too quick to dive into the next challenge. I have learned that there is a better way for me and my teams to increase our performance. I start my day or meeting by celebrating the wins.
I’ve written about Sean Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage and the science behind positive psychology. By starting with the wins we program our brain over time to be more positive, impacting everything we do. Wins also change the energy in a room or on the phone, letting us tackle our challenges in new and creative ways.
I thought that I really listened. Then I got other people to help me see that I didn’t really listen. I heard the words, but my brain was too busy deciding what I was going to say or I had already made up my mind as to how I would respond. To really listen takes work and tremendous awareness. If you want to really hear what is going on, try this:
Speak Less. I believe we have two ears and one mouth because we should be listening at least twice as much as we talk. Enough said.
Respond. Our limbic brain is hardwired to react to what happens around us. The survival of the human race depended on it. We need to learn to respond with thoughtfulness, rather than react, to what we hear. This takes conscience training and continuous work over time. I am still improving at this today.
Respect. I happen to live in Vancouver, Canada that is one of the most diverse cultural communities in the world. This has helped me build deep respect for different points of view. It wasn’t always so. I had to learn to encourage debate and discussion, even in areas where I was uncomfortable, so that many different perspectives could be brought to a challenge. Many perspectives create new and unique solutions far better than those from a single point of view.
Look in the mirror today. The most limiting factor in your ability to lead is looking right back at you. Make a conscience decision on how you will show up, celebrate the wins, and focus on really listening to those around you. You will be surprised at the difference it makes.
Tags: listening, respect, self-examination, wins