There are two ways in which entrepreneurs make business leadership improvements, including:
- Making leadership mistakes and then learning lessons from them; and
- Learning lessons from other people's leadership mistakes.
Which sounds better to you?
While you certainly will make mistakes and should learn lessons from them, why not learn lessons from other leader's mistakes so that you don't face the repercussions of making them yourself?
Choosing not to learn from other people's mistakes is like saying... 'I know my mentor told me that I shouldn't touch burning candles because it burns, but I'll test it out anyways!'.
That being said, we're sharing 9 effective leadership truths that great leaders live by. If you don't learn these lessons or truths here, you'll be forced to learn them from making mistakes!
Additionally, we're also sharing how you can apply these truths to your everyday life in a business leadership role.
Why not learn from other effective business leader's mistakes instead of making them yourself? By doing so, you'll become a better leader and not have to face the music that comes with learning these hard truths on your own!
9 Leadership Truths That’ll Take Your Business to the Next Level
These 9 leadership truths are shared amongst the business world's top entrepreneurs. They come from good leaders of the past and present who learn lessons through making mistakes.
In order to become a better leader yourself, you should apply these truths to your own business and personal lives.
In the end, you'll become the kind of successful leader who achieves all of their goals and brings their visions to life!
1. Effective Leaders Never Waste a Crisis
Two business owners can go through the exact same experience and come out on the other side of it with two totally opposing takeaways. On one hand, one CEO can walk away feeling empowered from the experience. On the other hand, the other CEO can run away feeling completely damaged.
You most commonly see this dichotomy as leaders experience crises.
Moreover, there are some business owners who become better leaders after experiencing a crisis, and then there are others who fall flat on their faces.
Your goal is to become the type of leader who gets better after every experience they go through, particularly crises.
You will find that the best leaders in the world are the ones who never waste a crisis. By that, we mean that they find a way to spin it into a beneficial situation that works for them, not against them.
Opportunities Can Be Born Out of Crises
Whether you use a crisis for your benefit or for your demise is dependent on your perspective.
It goes back to the whole is the glass half full or it is half empty sort of thing.
Your perspective of crises determines what you make of them.
Shift your perspective to one of seeing the potential opportunities of crises. The way that you do that is by zooming out of the situation to have a look at the big picture.
When you look at the big picture, you're able to see that the crisis can be a launchpad if you choose to see it as such.
On the flip side, when you look at the small picture, all you're able to see is yourself in a pit.
If you want to turn every crisis into an opportunity that plays to your benefit, zoom your perspective out a bit!
2. Visions Are More Important Than Goals
If you're like many business owners, then you're constantly being consumed by your goals. Perhaps you're that person who wakes up in the morning and the first thing you do is read your goals aloud.
While putting your goals up on such a high pedestal isn't necessarily a bad idea, the world's top entrepreneurs place something even higher up on the pedestal of importance.
That thing is their vision!
Also known as a conclusion, a vision is the experience that the world's top CEOs create through their business.
For example, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, had a vision of a world empowered with technology. The goal was NOT the iPhone or all the different computer products... Rather, they were the goals that fulfilled the vision of a more empowered world!
Moreover, goals are the means to manifesting a vision. So, while they are very important, they are not the most important success factor.
Effective business owners place their vision above all else. And, thanks to those clear visions, they create the world's most revolutionary businesses.
Vision, Business Strategy, Then Business Goals
Again, we're not saying that you shouldn't set goals. Instead, what we are saying is that, rather than placing goals above all else, you should place your vision above all else, and then set goals based on that vision.
With a clear vision, you have a clear path in front of you. It's as if you all of a sudden know what direction you need to head in to manifest the vision!
Once you've got your vision clarified, you’re ready to develop a business strategy. Think of a strategy like a blueprint: It outlines what it'll take to manifest the vision in reality.
Then, top business owners set goals in order to fulfill each element of the strategy.
From now on, instead of waking up in the morning and reciting your goals, do that AND set aside time to sit quietly with your vision. The clearer the vision, the more successful leader you'll become!
3. Be Accountable for Your Words
Almost every CEO understands the importance of being accountable for their actions, but how many equally understand the importance of being accountable for their words?
At the end of the day, great leaders are just as accountable for their words as they are their actions!
By that, we mean that when they say that they’re going to do something, they do it! And, when they don't accomplish what they say that they're going to accomplish, they don't make excuses for themselves.
Whether you're currently a CEO or see yourself becoming one in the future, know that the easiest way to lose the respect of customers and team members is by being unaccountable for your words.
Great Leaders Are Accountable for Their Actions and Words
To put it simply... If you, the CEO of your company, aren't accountable for your words and actions, then you'll set off a chain reaction in your business.
Before you know it, your entire team will lose accountability of themselves. Ultimately, you'll foster the kind of work environment in which words and promises mean absolutely nothing!
At the end of the day, your business is a reflection of YOU. Therefore, if you want to have the kind of business in which everyone is at the top of their game, then you need to be the person who is most on top of their game.
4. Leadership Skills Mean Nothing Without Problem-Solving Skills
Having strong business leadership skills doesn't necessarily mean anything. You can be the most skilled leader on the planet, but that doesn't necessarily make you a better leader.
If skills alone did make CEOs better leaders, then there would be a whole lot more awesome leaders out there today!
Think of it like this: We live in a more educated world than ever before. More people than ever are getting diplomas, and there are countless inexpensive resources, including books and podcasts, that teach everything from leadership skills to strategic partnerships. However, while the world is more educated than ever before, we need to seriously ask ourselves why so many people still struggle to fulfill their dreams?
Take a moment to look in the mirror.... You may have gone through all of the leadership programs and read all the books, but you're simply still not the leader who you want to be!
In short: Education and skills mean nothing without knowing how to apply education and skills. More specifically, education and skills mean nothing unless you know how to use them to solve problems.
One of the biggest differences between the most successful leaders of the world and everybody else is that successful leaders are great problem solvers. They might not be the most educated, but they are the best at using what skills they do have to solve problems!
Skills Alone Don’t Solve Problems
What good is having excellent communication skills if you don't know how to use them to foster an ideal company culture?
Similarly, what good is being a wizard with numbers if you don't know how to use that skill set to track growth metrics for your business?
Before trying to gain any additional new skills, you should take a step back and ask yourself whether or not you know how to make use of your existing skill set.
More likely than not, you don't need more leadership skills to become the kind of leader who you envision yourself of becoming. Instead, you need training that'll teach you how to apply your existing skills to everyday business scenarios!
5. Happiness Is One Thing, Fulfillment Is Another
How often do you hear people say, 'I just want to be happy in life' or 'My goal is simply to be happy'?
If you're like most chief executive officers, then you probably hear things like that on the regular. In fact, you might even say things like that yourself.
However, the world's most successful leaders understand that happiness shouldn't be the end goal, and that being happy all the time isn't necessarily a good thing!
Instead of living a happiness-centric life, top leaders live a fulfillment-centric life.
Happiness Isn’t the Goal
Happiness is a momentary feeling of gratification. It's very surface-level. While it's nice to feel happy and you should want to feel happy, it shouldn't be your end goal if you want to become a top-tier leader.
On the other hand, fulfillment is rooted in enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a deep internal feeling of joy that you experience when you're doing the thing that you know you're meant to do in life.
And the thing is, you don't necessarily need to be happy in order to be fulfilled. In fact, you can be experiencing one of the most challenging periods of your life and still feel fulfilled!
Because everyone has their own unique calling in life, whatever you base your fulfillment on is up to you! If you’re going through the process of manifesting your business vision and feel fulfilled, you know that you're doing what you're meant to do in life.
Being Happy All the Time Isn’t Exactly a Good Sign
Want to know what would make me happy to do?
I would be happy to not look at my company growth metrics because looking at them doesn't make me feel happy. Additionally, I would be happy to not exercise because going through the drive-through and getting french fries makes me feel even better.
If you go through your entire life with the goal of feeling happy all the time, you'll only end up screwing yourself over.
As long as you're doing the thing that gives you fulfillment in life, then going through the momentary lapses in happiness is okay and worth it.
Moreover, feeling happy all the time is probably a sign that you're not doing what's best for you for the sake of momentary comfort!
6. Start With ‘Yes’
How many times have you been in a room with a small-minded person, thrown your vision out there, and then almost immediately been hit with a 'No, that'll never work'?
If you're like most business leaders, then that's certainly happened to you before!
That being said, when a great idea comes around from one of your team members, you shouldn't sink to the level of small-minded people by starting with 'No'. Instead, you should rise to the level of successful leaders by starting with 'Yes'!
One strong sign of an amazing leader is that, regardless of how crazy an idea sounds, if it's a great one, they lead with 'Yes'. Then, they figure out how to make it happen afterwards!
Awesome leaders lead great ideas with 'Yes'.
If It Sounds Impossible, You Might Be on the Right Track
The world's most revolutionary businesses all begin with big visions. Despite the fact that they might sound impossible at first, the best leaders push forward with them.
Therefore, if you or somebody else on your team brings a great idea to the table, then it's a sign that you all might be onto something.
Revolutionary businesses are never born out of small ideas.
Why Would You Start With ‘No’?
Think back to a time when a small-minded individual told you that you we're crazy or that your idea would never work... How did that make you feel?
As a human, it probably stung you a little bit. However, as the leader you are, it probably didn't stop you from pushing forward.
That being said, if you don't like it when other people start with 'No', then why would you say it to somebody else?
If you're sick of small-minded people, then don't be one yourself.
7. Asking Questions Is More Important Than Having Answers
Regardless of what you see on social media or read about in books, the world's most successful business leaders never have all the answers.
Not only do they not have all the answers, but they indulge in not having all the answers!
Instead of basking in the glory of having answers, they focus on asking the right questions.
Because, asking questions gives leaders several legs up, including:
- An immediate but unobvious grab on power; and
- Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.
When it comes down to it, top leaders are like students who are always always asking the right questions.
Asking Questions Gives You Power
By asking questions instead of giving answers, you immediately empower yourself.
When you're always asking questions, it's as if you're on offense, and whoever is answering them is on defense.
Think of it like this... When you walk into a doctor's office, what does the doctor do? Do they dominate the conversation, or do they ask you questions, let you speak, and then ultimately offer solutions to your concerns?
Just like how an expert doctor solidifies their power and expertise by asking questions, you should do exactly the same.
Entrepreneurship Is About Discovery
Not only does asking questions put you on offense, but it puts you in a position to gain as much knowledge as possible.
The more knowledge you have, the stronger you and your business become.
Think of it like this... Steve Jobs WAS NOT an engineer, nor did he know exactly what it would take to manifest his visions. But, what he did do was ask questions to the right people in order to discover as much expert knowledge as possible. Ultimately, the answers to his questions put him in a position to become one of the strongest leaders in business history.
Entrepreneurship is about discovery. If you want to be the leader who discovers the absolute most, all you need to do is start asking more questions.
8. You Can’t Cheat the Process
Okay, fine... Maybe you can cheat the process, but you'll shoot yourself in the foot by doing so.
One of the key differences between top business leaders and those who never live up to their full potential is that top leaders embrace the process as much as they possibly can, while others either numb themselves to the process or try to cheat it.
The more you embrace the process, including all the pains and triumphs that come with it, the better leader you'll become and the more your business will grow.
The More You Embrace the Process, the More You Grow
The secret to business leadership success, and quite frankly success of any kind, is learning to love the climb to the top of the hill just as much as the view at the top of it.
The more you embrace the process, including the pitfalls that'll likely come with it, the more effectively you’ll grow into the absolute best version of yourself.
By embracing the process, particularly the challenging times of it, you'll grow into a better leader. And, since your business is a reflection of YOU, your business will grow right along with you!
If you do the opposite by choosing to reject the process, you'll end up passing by the most valuable opportunities in the world to refine your leadership style.
The Process Is Where Fulfillment Lives
99.9% of your time as a leader is spent climbing the hill, while the other .1% is spent enjoying the view from the top of the hill.
That being said, are you really going to base your fulfillment on the few seconds that you spend at the top of the hill? Or, are you going to base your fulfillment on the process, and then enjoy the heck out of the top of the hill?
When you really think about it, it's silly to base your fulfillment on the few seconds that are spent at the top of the hill.
Because, the truth is that if you're like most business leaders, the second you reach the top of one hill, you'll immediately start climbing an even higher one!
9. Short Term Thinking = Long Term Disaster
How many times has somebody said to you... 'Maybe you should start by thinking smaller?'.
If you're like most leaders, you've certainly heard it before! And, not only have you heard it before, but it likely makes you think to yourself, 'Why would I start small when I've got big visions?'.
Here's the thing: While it certainly can happen, most leaders don't go from 0 to 100 overnight. Despite that truth, the most successful leaders never say to themselves, 'Okay, since I probably won't get to 100 overnight, maybe I should make my vision smaller, and then I will be successful sooner.'
Never, EVER think smaller because you believe that it'll help you become successful sooner.
By thinking smaller, your perspective inevitably gets smaller. The smaller your perspective, the fewer opportunities you see at your disposal.
On the other hand, if you've got a big vision and think big thoughts, you'll have a broad perspective and see opportunities left and right.
Again, while you might not go 0 to 100 overnight, that doesn't mean that you should think small or short term! Instead, think big and long term, and then work backwards.
Think Big & Then Work Backwards
In order to make big, long term thinking work for them, top leaders simply work backwards.
When people say to them, ‘Maybe you should think smaller first’, they throw that opinion in the trash.
Instead of thinking small and short term, they think big and long term, and then develop strategic plans that'll help manifest those big thoughts.
In order to fulfill those strategic plans, they take small steps that add up to create their big vision.
Despite the fact that they might take small steps, they never think small or short term.
Instead of thinking small, short term thoughts, think big thoughts, and then create the kind of strategy that’ll manifest the thoughts. Furthermore, don't think smaller, just change your strategy!
Final Thoughts on Truths That Business Leaders Live By
At the end of the day, you can have the best business solution in the world, hold a degree from a top business school, and be the savviest business person in the game, but if you're not a strong leader, then it all goes to waste.
Great businesses without strong leadership never live up to their full potential.
Therefore, if you want to manifest the kind of company that you know you're capable of bringing to life, then start by having a hard look at your own leadership. Apply these 9 truths that the world's top entrepreneurs live by to rise to the occasion!
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