You’ve decided to reassess and potentially reinvent your leadership style in the New Year. Instead of doing this exercise in a vacuum, why not look to the great leaders of history for advice? Consider the following 10 quotes for inspiration to revamp your leadership skills in 2015.
1. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” –Steve Jobs.
Leaders need to be able to see beyond the obvious next steps. This vision – this ability to identify the idealized future and refocused an organization and its people in pursuit of that – is mission critical.
2. “Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.” – Oscar Wilde.
You need to have courage to stand up to your team and insist on your course of action, even if it’s unpopular and dangerous. You run a business, not a democracy.
3. “It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” ― Adlai E. Stevenson II.
If you don’t believe in your ideas, your team will lack confidence in your plans and your abilities as a leader. Don’t be ashamed of embracing a position and risking your cache.
4. “Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” ― John F. Kennedy.
If you take credit for your team’s successes but blame them for all mistakes, they will not respect you. Own your mistakes and failures. Lavish in them, even. Your team will respect you, if you use them as stepping stones, and they’ll follow your lead.
5. “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado.
Your motivation to lead should not be praise from others, nor fear of rejection; blind yourself to popular opinion (but, importantly, do not be ignorant of that opinion) and heed your own counsel.
6. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie.
Allow your team members to do their jobs independently and praise them for their good work. Praise in public, and be specific about what you love and why it will help the team’s efforts; chastise (when you must) in private.
7. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis. Leading is about more than coming up with innovative ideas. It’s often a nuts and bolts exercise, requiring an ability to respond fluidly to challenges and opportunities. Turning a vision into reality requires elbow grease and resilience; it’s a special kind of art.
8. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” ― John C. Maxwell.
Be a compassionate leader and a good listener to your team members, but maintain professional distance to keep your authority.
9. “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey.
Believe in your vision by following it to the end. Live your values.
10. “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Your team needs more than a paycheck; your people need to feel like they’re aligned with a higher purpose.
Leading a company successfully is hard work and often counterintuitive. You don’t need to discover best practices haphazardly. Take the initiative and sign up for the advanceyourleadership.com list to learn valuable insights.