Good leadership is learned and earned, not inherited. It’s something you have to continuously develop and ponder as the people that surround you change and grow. Find these twelve will qualities inside yourself if you want to become an exceptionally capable leader.
A boss with great leadership skills can really make a difference, not just in the success of the company but also in the quality of her employees’ lives. Unfortunately, too many bosses value ruthless slave driving over wise and compassionate guidance, and they often pay for it with an inefficient and disloyal work force. Below, we list some tips to help you become the best leader you can be, courtesy of Forbes. The whole article is worth a read if you have the extra time, but we break down the basics right here.
+ Never forget that you are your employees’ servant - just as they are yours. When you make their jobs and lives easier, they’ll often return the favor for the rest of their working relationship with you. More importantly, perceive every employee as your equal. In the end, a title is just a title, but loyal relationships last forever, whether or not your company lasts.
+ Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. Develop the bravery to point out unethical or shady practices, and don’t be afraid to do what’s right for the company even if it’s a major inconvenience to everyone around you. In the end, everyone respects the “yes man” as much as they respect the guy that doesn’t care, but when it’s time to follow somebody, everyone will be looking to the few individuals with a relentless sense of honesty, honor and drive - regardless of title.
+ Share your experience, and become a mentor. Talented workers, especially younger ones, care about their careers, which means they often have a willingness to learn as much as they can. Leverage their drive for success to boost the performance of your company. Furthermore, you might need your employees as a reference in the future, or perhaps they’ll become bosses or clients of yours. If you take the time to be a career mentor, not just a boss, they’ll be your loyal friends and business partners for life.
+ Don’t neglect your employees’ personal lives. This is how you’ll know when to push them ruthlessly and when to offer compassion, so you can squeeze as much high-quality work out of your work force as possible. If you really value your talent, you’ll want to keep them around for as long as possible, but if you don’t bend your will to the craziness of their everyday lives, they may not stick around for long.
+ Don’t stop learning, and remain open to new ideas. Don’t fear criticism or debate because they are often precursors to the best ideas. More importantly, encourage this quality in your people. They have valuable perspectives - even the youngest hires. Your employees won’t always be right, but it’s your job to absorb as much information as possible and select the best path forward.
+ Trust your employees, and stop micromanaging. You hired your people to take over the steering wheel in their respective departments and roles, so let them do what they need to do because you probably have a full plate yourself.
+ Maintain high standards set by your example. The key is setting the example yourself. Then, slowly nudge your work force to your level. They may not ever catch up to you (that’s why you’re the boss), but they will continue to improve.
+ Find the best qualities in your employees, and learn how to develop and use those qualities for the benefit of the company - even if your employees can’t see it in themselves. Your employees may fail over and over again as you try to push them to achieve things they never knew were possible, but they will eventually get there.
+ Be passionate and encourage passion because talented individuals are attracted to it. They want to be a part of something great or important, and your passion for your work communicates the same ideal.
+ Fairness is critical, and don’t be a hypocrite. It seems like an obvious concept, but it’s not a common quality because it’s easy to lose focus.
+ Consistency is a necessary ingredient for cooking up trust in your work force because it enables your employees to know what’s coming.
+ Recruit talent the smarter way. Find and hire good talent, but also grow and develop these individuals with wisdom, trust, trial, error and compassion. Even if you’re an excellent recruiter, no one wants to work for a slave driver, so slave drivers don’t naturally attract the best people.
Whether you’re a high-level executive or a business newbie, free marketing is always a great idea. Unfortunately, effective tactics on $0 budgets aren’t always obvious. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
We came across a helpful piece this morning that describes some valuable marketing strategies that are virtually free or extremely low cost. We break down the basics below, but whole thing is worth a read if you have a few more minutes to spare.
Use real people to design the look and message of your emails, not automated machines, and take your time with your email campaigns. Don’t force your customer to commit on the first message. It really helps to court them over time. Once you build trust with the customer, you can subtly introduce messages that are more direct.
Host webinars. There’s a lot of great platforms that help businesses host small webinars for free. This is an easy way to demonstrate your product to anyone in the whole world, and you can also use it to gauge feedback about your presentation and product. Improve your presentations over time, and you should eventually see some great results. After you hone your presentation skills, upgrade to a paid option to host bigger webinars to reach more customers in one session. and boost your odds of success.
Give away free samples, consultations or trials. This is another great way to collect feedback, but it also puts your product in the clients’ hands. If you play your cards right, you’ll make up the cost with increased sales. Extra tip: If you’re a distributor, you may have access to samples from the manufacturer at no cost to you.
It’s all great advice, but we add our own two cents below. There’s much more you can do on a low marketing budget.
Give your clients and potential clients free promotional items, which are useful office supplies, apparel or gifts with your logo, name or information on it. This isn’t really a “free” option, but it is a low-cost way to stay on the client’s mind long after contact. It is such a common tactic that it is often overlooked by impatient newbies.
A company like AnyPromo makes it easy to stock up on promotional products and gifts for face-to-face sales, trade shows, meetings, demonstrations and more. Try offering products that the client would often use - either on his own or in a community setting, such as in his office’s lunch room. AnyPromo offers customizable cutting boards, mugs, pens, bags, clocks, notebooks, portfolios, planners, USB solar chargers (for mobile devices), backpacks, safety glasses, tumblers, hard hats, business cards and much more.
Of course, you can also try your hand at social-media marketing, which is technically free, but you should have on staff a social-media guru even if he’s also involved in other areas of the company. It can be pretty easy to waste your time if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re an expert in a certain field, you can offer free advice on forums, blogs or magazines. In exchange for the free content, ask for or setup a “followed” backlink to your website in a signature to help boost your SEO, but the real reward is the exposure of your brand to new audiences. More importantly, you’re showing the audience your skills and experience, so they know you’re a trustworthy and legitimate source of help or business. Virgin CEO Richard Branson is an expert at this style of self marketing, and you may have already noticed that he’s always writing articles or conducting interviews with industry-leading magazines, websites and blogs.
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