We’ve all met managers or C-suite executives that make us question how they got there. If you want to break the stereotype and truly excel as a CEO – there are some very clear and distinct steps that you should take. Here’s how to become exceptional at leadership.
Leadership is a lifelong journey of development, innovation, and growth mindset. Many CEOs often find growth in mistakes, setbacks, and challenges that they face every day. Exceptional leadership is unique to the role and team that a CEO plans to manage.
However, there are some fundamental truths about leadership that can be distilled across the board. Welcome to the big show as CEO, success in this fast-paced realm hinges on your leadership skills and ability to manage people.
Here are 5 ways to become an exceptional leader.
1) Define Your Purpose and Share it Often
A company’s purpose is its driving force. Without a mission and true direction from a leader, companies and staff become lost in the day-to-day tasks. At a fundamental level, employees want to understand how their actions and work contributes to a purposeful vision. This is where CEOs can stand out – by crafting a healthy, vibrant, and dynamic work culture. Motivation must be found within but can be inspired by leaders through a sturdy vision and direction.
Beyond a purpose for the company, leaders should take time to define their own purpose. An authentic leader is one who truly understands purpose to their own core. A one-dimensional CEO (focused only on work) is boring and cliche to employees. Leave room for vulnerability by sharing your interests, your dreams, and your purpose beyond the walls of the workplace.
A compelling purpose and leader can quickly organize a corporate team into a serious force. Through alignment and collaboration, purposeful teams are able to overcome almost any obstacle that is put in their path.
2) Build your Dream Team using Clear Communication
What leaders fail to forget is that their communication strategies can set the tone for the entire team. Without direct, engaging, and strong communication, employees may feel disconnected from a leader over time.
Small miscommunications (canceled meetings without notice, poor communication around big-scale initiatives, lack of explanation around purpose) can ultimately lead to resentment at the basic level of a company.
Leaders should not be scared to communicate in an open and honest way. Employees who don’t agree with the way that you communicate will ultimately seek employment elsewhere. However, employees who thrive with your direction and style will help you to build a dream team over time.
3) Value Trust and Accountability
Above all, it is a CEO’s responsibility to ensure that managers and employees remain accountable for their various projects and pieces of corporate work. Ensuring that you are maintaining trust and accountability with your team must remain at the forefront of your leadership style.
Employees who don’t meet their performance goals or targets may need additional support or assistance from you. As a leader, you should foster support conversations before you immediately resort to reprimand. However, when it is warranted, reward and reprimand may be required to maintain accountability across all planes at your company.
4) Prioritize Culture and Diverse Ideas
While it’s important to define a purpose and communicate clearly – it’s equally important to leave room for ideas and culture beyond your own. A corporate team that feels engaged and involved is much more likely to innovate together.
Unfortunately, top-down leadership becomes stagnant and can risk silencing incredibly valuable input from employees at all levels of the company. Exceptional CEOs will always make time and space for diverse culture and ideas at their company.
What are you waiting for? Go be an exceptional leader!
Don’t forget that leadership isn’t cerebral. It’s not words on a page or ideas in your head. As a CEO, it’s mandatory that you take action every day to become better. Employ a growth mindset in your own life to see it reflected in the company that you manage. Don’t wait – go employ those exceptional leadership skills in your life right now!