Leadership – The Secret Ingredient

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Have you ever worked in a business where you just felt invigorated? Where mundane tasks, which we all have to do at some point in our careers become easier, fun even. When the team bonds, works great together and delivers results beyond expectations. Have you ever wondered what the secret ingredient is that turns a good team into a great team? That added ingredient that takes a leader past the tipping point of a good one to that of a truly successful leader?

Leadership is a tough gig! Very few people are trained to be leaders early on in their careers. Most get promoted because they are bloody good at their technical job, the job that they chose, or that maybe chose them out of school or University. Lots get promoted without any formal or informal training and many don’t make the grade. See my Promoting Incompetence blog to get my views on that! In recent years MBA’s have become very popular, or Executive Training Programmes. These teach about Financial Accounting, Marketing, Managing People and Strategic Leadership to name a few components. I have friends who have achieved an MBA, most studied whilst also holding down a full time job and I’m in awe of their commitment and what they have achieved. The question is though, does it make them a better leader or just a better business person with more clarity and understanding on running a successful business?

There is so much being written about how to get the most from your team and how to become a great leader that it can be a little overwhelming. Great books and articles that make sense when you read them. However, when trying to apply them to real world situations they can lose their power in translation. Sometimes having the opposite effect on the team, maybe even knocking the confidence of the leader and their ability, or their want to continue bringing new ideas to their team and business. I myself write leadership blogs every month on my experiences of what’s worked, what hasn’t. We read and digest numerous ideas on how to drive culture, inspire innovation, live values and embrace change, all to achieve an edge for self-improvement.

So much of this advice is fascinating, relevant and even inspiring at times. If you follow me on Linked-In, firstly thank you, but you’ll see that I share numerous articles written by others where I will add my own thoughts. Some of the ideas that I’ve read, have inspired me to implement within my own business. I’ve never been one to be afraid to take great ideas and build upon them, standing on the shoulders of giants, if you will. The digital age has given us access to a wealth of information which we can learn from and once digested call knowledge. However, knowledge alone is no longer a competitive advantage. Knowing how to use that knowledge to achieve a goal is, translated as experience. Learning how to lead a team with its challenges takes experience.

Leadership is complex. It is complex because leadership is all about people. Now depending on who you talk to and in what context, individuals can be very complex, but as a species people can also be very predictable. If you ever decide to read up about the origins and evolution of leadership there are literally millions of documents on the subject. Psychology is at the heart of the science of leadership with words that keep cropping up such as motivation, temperament, authentic, collaborative and knowledge among others. But how do you ensure that these “words” are lived out through your leadership style.

Because of this complexity, leaders have to navigate lots of issues to ensure success through true leadership. They must get the fundamentals right in defining culture, giving clear communication and motivation, to name just a few. But one word and trait that I believe sets great leaders apart from the pack is enthusiasm. The power of enthusiasm is contagious. The origins of the word enthusiasm come from the Greek word Enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein meaning to be inspired or divine inspiration. Today’s dictionaries defines it as “intense and eager enjoyment.” It’s not only contagious, it’s a bloody exciting word. An enthusiastic leader is a passionate leader and a passionate leader engages their team, empowers their team and turns a good team into a great team. Enthusiastic leaders create excited passionate teams who fuel achievement. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” It’s true and something that all great leaders show.

Enthusiasm also changes the meaning of a challenge. With an enthused team you can accomplish anything. Enthusiasm is a choice we make every day and when it’s unleashed the opportunities are boundless and endless.

So my tip for all you leaders out there, lead with enthusiasm, with passion. Inspire your team to achieve more with your own intense drive and enjoyment. Trust me, your results will improve, they’ll soar, maybe even astound.

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