Leadership Skills

By PrimeLending President Scott Bristol

What are the secrets to effective leadership? How do we inspire and motivate others to achieve their highest potential? What do good leaders do that earns the respect and esteem of others?

I’ll attempt to reveal some of those secrets below.

Master the Art of Mentoring

My thoughts on leadership were actually borrowed from one of my early mentors, Dan Nielsen, who taught me the importance of mentoring others. Helping people grow personally and professionally requires consistent commitment on your part. It also entails helping that person get to the next level, but then once they do, stepping into the shadows so they can shine. The interesting thing about mentorship is that as you invest your energy into developing people, you will discover that this comes back to you in the form of career advancement.

Hire Smart People and Get Out of Their Way

The old adage about hiring people who are smarter than you is a cliché; it’s also true.  Hire smart people and then give them the resources they need as well as clear direction on the results you expect. Then get out of their way. Let them flex their skills and expertise without your running interference at every turn. Check in at least weekly to make sure that they have everything they need to accomplish their goals.

Catch People Doing Something Right

This should be a daily task for every leader. When you catch someone doing something right and praise it, the results will be a thousand times better than watching for mistakes and correcting them. I don’t mean to say you shouldn’t ever do the latter; I simply believe that you should spend 80% of your time looking for wins and praising. As humans, we crave positive reinforcement that we are headed down the right path. Besides, the best people are their own harshest critics; they constantly correct their own behavior – usually, long before you do.

Take Responsibility for Both Success and Failure

Being a leader means accepting responsibility for victories as well as defeats. In other words, a leader should own results. But remember, if you succeed, it’s the team’s accomplishment. If you fail – it’s yours. Accepting responsibility for failure will help everyone learn from mistakes and prevent small problems from becoming large.

Work Hard and Have Fun

Work ethic is crucial. Working half days is acceptable; simply pick your best 12 hours and get after it. At the same time, life is short and we spend a lot of time at work; so remember to have fun with your team. When it comes to customer service, exceed people’s expectations. A wildly happy customer will tell their friends about your product or service; so will the unhappy ones. Ensure that your customers are raving fans through your hard work.

Know Where You Want to Go

It’s important that your team know where you want to go. It’s frustrating to follow someone who doesn’t know where they are going. Work with your team to understand your company’s unique value proposition. Then decide where you can beat the competition and go execute. Update your vision regularly and communicate it often.

I have one more parting thought. Remember that leadership comes from the top down. As goes the senior management team, so goes the rest of the company. The team you lead reflects the leader you are.

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