Leadership Principle #1: Build Effective Communications Skills
To be an effective leader, one needs to be able to able to communicate effectively. When opportunities present themselves to better these skills, take them. In our current world, everyone, not just leaders, needs to be succinct. You cannot take 3 minutes to answer a 30-second question. When speaking, try to be as direct as possible, limiting filler words such as um and a. You want people to leave, understand something, and think, wow, that's a good speaker.
Leadership Principle #2: Transparent Decision-Making
Transparency of decision-making is essential in leadership, especially within larger companies. Good feedback occurs when leadership can share these decisions before being made with a committee of trusted team members. Doing this prevents anything from falling through the cracks and allows disagreements to be said upfront. This is necessary to get everyone on board to commit and support the decision at hand. In addition, pre-sharing these decisions allows for debate, eliminating the need to backpedal or defend the decisions down the line, resulting in unilateral alignment.
Leadership Principle #3: Build Alliances
Building alliances is crucial to success. Today, many teams are hyper siloed within their departments, resulting in, for example, marketing teams that only work within marketing. When this is the case, each department is siloed around its own specific data. Leaders must build intra-departmental alliances. It's more than the front-end and back-end having a powerful partnership. It's about the cross-departmental building of relationships with peers leading to better transparency in decision making. These additional perspectives offer different opinions. Feedback from different sides of the spectrum empowers you to become a better, more well-rounded leader. Building committees results in better decision-making.
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Leadership Principle #4: Learn the Differences Between Start-Up, Growth, and Scale
Understand the differences between the phases of start-up, growth, and scale. Each stage is different and requires unique skill sets. Though capabilities can evolve, leaders need to understand their skill set and determine what stage they will best serve. It's uncommon for someone to stay at a company for all three phases, in any case. Having the right people for each stage is extremely important, and it's crucial to know when their value has run out. Not everyone should stay for all three, though a good leader will encourage expanding skills to maintain their weight throughout multi phases. When people start at an initial start-up, they feel more like family than team members, which can become challenging over time. A good leader has to assess when the value runs out and part ways when necessary.
Leadership Principle #5: Think Like an Entrepreneur
Think like an entrepreneur. Step back and look at the big picture to embrace what decisions will impact the business, from the culture to the mission. Adopting an entrepreneurial spirit is very valuable for leadership growth and owning your career on your terms.
Leadership Principle #6: Make Yourself Expendable
You need to have a succession plan in place and make yourself expendable and redundant. The idea should be that if a leader within your team leaves, there is already an apparent heir waiting within the company to fill that position. Suppose that is not the case. That is terrible leadership. There should always be someone who can at least temporarily fill a role. Many people are worried about being fired if they do this. However, if you have departments that can run independently, leadership can trust them to do more, and that value is enormous for an organization.