In order to run successful businesses we must continually look to better ourselves. One of the most important skills to always be developing is that of leadership. Leadership of a team is not easy. Leadership of self can be just as difficult. Below I discuss four of the things you need to Know for being a great leader.
- Know your industry for the next 10 years. (At least 5)
As the leader of your organization, it is important that you know where your industry is now and where it will be in 3, 5 and 10 years. I don’t mean generally where it is going but what is actually happening and how this will affect your business over time. Not only do you need to know where the industry will be but you need to know how it is going to transition to there. Meaning, what are the trends that you are going to have to keep up with.
As the leader or “CEO” of your company it is your job, your responsibility to know your business, your industry, your competitors and your trends. This is part of the definition of leadership. You must be leading your team down the right path. If you are not well informed then you are derelict in your duties.
- Know Technology is Your Friend
If you are a little gray on the sides or your using hair die then this is for you. Yes many of “us” have adapted well to technology. However, many of “us” haven’t. Technology….in its broadest sense, is our friend. Yes that means new software, smart phones, websites, internet marketing, gizmos and gadgets. You name it…if it can help you market, sell, run or manage your business more effectively then you need to know about it and use it.
One person today can do the work of what used to take 3 to 4 people. That is HUGE when it comes to saving money in your business. Now when you hire people they can be more productive and you can have them working on the important tasks. (The ones that help make you more profitable.)
Embrace technology. Have someone updating on the newest trends in technology. Yes, that may even mean hiring a 14 year old as your tech consultant to let you know what is happening, NOW. (Okay, I may be getting a little carried away here, but not by much.)
- Know Your Target Market Shifts
Do you know the demographics of your customers? Of course you do. (Please don’t tell me you said no to that.) Let’s say for one of your products or services your demo is women 30 to 40 years old of middle income, with 2.5 children. Do you believe that this same target market you have had for 20 to 30 years is the same as it was 20 years ago? Even though it is the same demo are they the same people? Do they make decisions the same way? Are the same things important to them? Is their pre-buying cycle and their buying cycle the same? The answer, by the way, is no. The Baby Boomers are now 50 and above. Generation X’ers are passing buy and we are coming into Gen Y’ers. Do you know how these other generations think, act, buy?
. If you plan on leading but you do not know the terrain in front of you, you could be in trouble. Is your terrain: mountains, swamp, water, desert or tropical forest? Do you think this would be important information to have before you set out on your journey?
- Know and Be the Leader that is Needed
Don’t just be “A” leader; be “THE” leader that is needed. As businesses grow, shrink, struggle and thrive, the people that work in the business are left wondering what all this means to the business. Yes, a decrease in business can have a devastating effect on morale. However, incredible growth, if not handled correctly, can have almost as equal an affect. People who feel that they are overwhelmed or the company is overwhelmed, need to know that the company can handle the future.
As the leader it is important to know the pulse of what is going on with your people. You must remember that they don’t know what you know. They don’t have the same perspective or information available to them. Know that you are the leader and you need to know that your team (depending on your relationship with them) will respond to situations in the business as you respond. The more respect, confidence and trust they have in you, the more influence you will have with them. So, be the leader that they need….not who you think you should be.
by Frank De Raffele