I have often been asked what differentiates a good leader from a great leader. The answer that I always give is “results.” To be effective in the 21st century, you need leadership that gets results.
We are halfway through 2020 and 2 decades into the 21st century. A lot has changed since the turn of the millennium. The pace of change over the past 20 years has been mind-boggling. Leaders all over the world get challenged continuously to keep up with technological changes in a hyper-competitive environment. The recent COVID pandemic has tested the best of the leaders and put them under tremendous pressure to perform. The rapid changes have made us think about the leader of the future. Have the demands of leaders changed? Do they need to develop new skill sets?
We still need leaders who have a clear vision and act with integrity, honesty, and transparency. We also need leaders who work hard and commit to the goals of the organization. However, if there is one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that we need leadership that gets results.
Here we put together the top 5 little known secrets of great leaders who have delivered results consistently.
The business world lost one of its greatest leaders this year in Jack Welch. Jack was the former CEO of General Electric and put employee engagement as one of the top 3 factors for business success. Great leaders know that to get results, they must continuously work on keeping their team engaged. Engaged employees have a deep sense of ownership for the organization and strong feelings of involvement and commitment towards achieving the goals. Keeping employees engaged is one of the essential leadership skills for the 21st century.
Great leaders know that empowering employees, and even consultants, goes a long way towards keeping them engaged. As human beings, we all like to feel in control and seek respect and recognition. By empowering employees to make their own decisions, leaders instill in the employees a sense of pride, self-respect, and a greater sense of job satisfaction. The late Steve Jobs once said that “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people, so they can tell us what to do.” Great leaders focus on hiring the best, managing talent, empowering them, and then getting out of the way!
The leader of the 21st century must deal with a rapidly changing business landscape, technology advances, and a constant flow of information. Great leaders know that the more they know, the better they can perform. As such, they have an attitude seeking ongoing learning. Leadership that gets results focuses on embracing the “beginners mind.” What this means is that great leaders have a curious and open mind toward challenges and problems. The great leader says, “Show me how you can do it,” while others say, “This is how it’s always done.”
Experts acknowledge setting a vision as a critical leadership skill for many years. A vision helps people work on what is essential to achieve the results and not get caught in the mundane stuff. While most leaders have a vision, they often fail to articulate it well enough to enable others to see it. What differentiates the great leaders from the good ones is their ability to instill the same vision in their team. When people can see your vision and accept it, it makes it far easier to stay focussed on results.
Leadership that gets results requires you to be able to make decisions on an ongoing basis. They realize their role and will push through and make decisions without over-thinking every problem. It does not mean that they make rash decisions. On the contrary, great leaders know how to take calculated risks based on the available facts. In other words, they decide and then work towards making the decision right rather than trying to make the right decisions.
Elaine Ditty is a supply chain management expert with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Also, she is Master’s educated, and her experience includes work at management levels for world-class service providers.
© 2020 Four Supply Chain & Four Creative Group. All Rights Reserved.