Oftentimes, great leaders are thought of as perfect people with the inability to make the same mistakes that plague common businesspeople. Contrary to that belief, however, is the fact that great leaders understand their mistakes and weaknesses better than anyone, and have worked hard to learn from them.
To help you change your mindset to realize that great leaders are made and not born, here are a few things great leaders do that you can apply to your business–whether it be a brick-and-mortar small business or a digital marketing company–in order to become a great leader yourself.
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” -Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs’s focus on quality has made Apple one of the most successful companies in the history of business. As chronicled in books and movies about his life, he pushed that upon Apple employees in harsh ways.
But if there’s one lesson business leaders can learn from Jobs, it’s that you should expect quality from your employees. Just getting the job done will not separate your company from its competitors. If you inspire excellence in your employees, they’ll rise to the occasion and deliver.
However, with that said…
Understand Perfection is Unobtainable
“Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” -Salvador Dali
Many people, especially business leaders, are obsessed with perfection. It’s a great trait to have if you’re looking to be the best at something, but perfection is unobtainable.
Perfectionists know this all too well, and many will burnout in business by attempting to reach perfection. As mentioned above, you should expect quality, but pushing for perfection is unhealthy.
Instead of working toward perfection, try to instill in yourself and your employees that it’s okay to…
Learn from Mistakes
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates
In order to be a great leader and businessperson, you always have to be willing to learn from your mistakes. No matter how big your business gets, or how many zeros are at the end of your paycheck, you are fallible.
Take note of your failures and embrace them in order to become the best, most successful leader you can possibly be.
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower
In order for you to lead, you have to be able to motivate your employees. When workers are not motivated, or feel their work is unnecessary or unappreciated, the quality of work they put out will suffer.
Dwight D. Eisenhower knew a thing or two about motivating others. As a General, he led the Allied Forces to victory in Europe during World War II. Later, he was elected President, leading the nation through eight years of economic growth and stability.
Eisenhower realized that in order to get people to do the necessary work, they had to feel as if their work had purpose. But the best thing a business leader can possibly do to inspire employees is to…
“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart.” -Thomas Watson, Sr.
If you don’t have your heart in your business, how do you expect others to be motivated to pursue quality and excellence?
Passion is often palpable, and people can easily pick up on the fact that you care about the work they provide for your business. By displaying passion for your business, you’re setting your employees up for success.
Realize That Money Comes Last
“The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers.” -John Egan
There are many things wrong with the way technology startups are run nowadays. One of those, however, is not the level of passion that many put into their business.
Instead of focusing on money–in the short term at least–the best businesses in Silicon Valley have been the ones that put their product first. Their pursuit of excellence can be seen in the incredible hardware and software that has been created in the last 20 years.
While money is obviously important in business–especially to those without venture capital–it should be thought of as the by-product of satisfying your customers by building incredible products or offering the best service possible.