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To lead a business you need to lead yourself

When discussing great leaders in prior blogs, we’ve noted the likes of Richard Branson and Satoru Iwata, the kind of people who have earned the respect of their peers and staff through honest and innovative leadership. However, in figuring out the best strategy to lead their workforce, many bosses fail to keep tabs on their own development – and if they cannot better themselves what chance does the business have?

After slowly but surely making their way up the career ladder to the optimum point of a company, a boss can be forgiven for resting on their laurels – after all you’ve reached the top, right? However a view like this is detrimental to a company as a whole, as if they cannot move along with the times, then they will quickly see their competitors race ahead of them. Because of this, the best leaders find ways to lead themselves as well as the company they run, and this can be done in a variety of different ways.

One of the best ways is for a leader to keep tabs on everything that they do – good and bad. Focusing on one over the other is never good, as the former leads to complacency whilst the latter will lead to a lack of confidence. By weighing up the positives and negatives, you can see what’s going well for the business and what needs to be changed, as often employees may be reluctant to make such suggestions.

This leads on to the second point. A leader needs to promote a culture where their workforce – from receptionists to board members – feel that their voice is heard within the company. If staff members are comfortable with the idea of telling their boss what they truly feel, they will. It may mean that a boss has to swallow their pride a bit, as they won’t be getting wholly positive responses from ‘yes-men’, but it will definitely be best for business. Transparency is key.

A true leader is happy to acknowledge their mistakes and ask their staff for help if necessary. It’s not a sign of defeat, but more an acceptance that much like the new office intern, they are learning new things every day. A boss who can accept this will not only improve their business, but will gain the respect of their workforce – as a leader.

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