Leadership Begins Within

by Debbie Allen

If you want to be a better leader, you need to first learn who you are. Identify your strengths and weaknesses equally so you understand how to operate, both positively and negatively.

Are you an Effective Leader? Communication is key, especially when you are the person in charge of making things happen. People will not have the opportunity to learn unless know how to effectively communicate what is expected of them.

If you want to be a better leader, you need to first learn who you are. Identify your strengths and weaknesses equally so you understand how to operate, both positively and negatively. Observe how you treat others and how they respond to you.

One thing you must commit to, if you want to practice better leadership, is the willingness to learn from every experience, particularly the painful ones, for they yield the richest lessons. When we work on improving ourselves ... we also work on strengthening our business skills. Read the following questions carefully and think about what type of leader you are. Take note of your strong areas and your weak areas.

Are you an effective leader?

  • Fairness and Consideration: Do others enjoy being around you and find you easy to talk to? Do you treat people fairly as you would like to be treated? Abusive or intimidating behavior only puts a wall between you your business associates. Others want to do business with people that are fair and considerate in all aspects of that relationship.
  • Sensitivity: Do you criticize others only in private? While praising in public encourages people to excel, public criticism will only embarrass and alienate everyone.
  • Clear Vision: Do you take the time to share you vision, your mission and your goals? Your job as leader is to provide a clear vision that your team is to follow. They also need to understand why that goal is valuable to them.
  • Being Open Minded: Are you open minded? Do you stop and listen to suggestions from your staff and other in other people you work with? Do you quickly implement those good ideas? If your goal is to be self-centered, followers will lose their enthusiasm. Emphasize the strengths and contributions of everyone you do business with. When you put one of your staff’s or business associate’s ideas to work quickly they will feel more involved and be more willing to continue offering ways to improve within your business.


With an open mind you will bring many new, fresh and innovative ideas into your organization. A good leader always stays open minded.

  • Do You Work Under A Relaxed Environment? The atmosphere where your staff and associates feel comfortable and have fun while doing business with you? No one wants to feel the pressures and stress on the job, although they will sometimes be there. Take time to have fun and let the people around you do so as well.
     
  • Genuine Interest. Do you judge people quickly, or do you take the time to get to know them and to respect their differences? Take the time to get to know your staff and associates to find out more about their interests and concerns.
     
  • Genuine Concern. Do you take the time to smile and say hello, or to ask how their day is going? Do you care about the people you work with? People will care more about you, your business and your ideas when you show them that you sincerely care about them.

Open Communication
Successful leaders take specific actions to get results within their business. Are you taking these actions? Think about where you can improve and make a concentrated effort to do so. Being self-absorbed is an easy trap. But take the time and unselfish concern to stop and think of others first.

Effective leaders respect both the processes of leadership and the people involved. They know enough to approach issues from the side. That is, they don’t directly confront people, argue with them or attempt to make someone wrong. They avoid embarrassing people or putting them in compromising positions. They listen before they make up their mind, and they know better than to insinuate or criticize. They ask questions rather than make statements. They inquire rather than enforce.

Your team can sometimes be like an extended family. You take the time to work on your personally relationships and keep an open communication there ... so why not work on your relationships in your business the same way?

Don’t expect others to know what you are thinking ... you must effectively communicate to your staff all the time. Open communication is the key to any great relationship!

Great leaders don’t demand respect; they earn it with their effective leadership skills. Great leaders continue to learn and improve those skills all the time. Are you a great leader?

    About the author:
    Debbie Allen is an international professional speaker, business consultant and author of Confessions of Shameless series of books. As a marketing and retail business expert, Debbie has presented to thousands from around the world. For more information or to sign up for Debbie’s free newsletter, visit her web site at at www.DebbieAllen.com.

     
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