Let’s face it: We’re all engaged in a rat race. We want to make our mark, to be known for something, forever competing, chasing, challenging, outthinking, outpacing and outdoing the next guy. Why? Because if you think outside the box, it will make you stand out and make it easier to mark the territory that you wish to claim. But once you get there, then what? Can you sustain the gap between you and everyone else? What do you need to do to keep reinventing yourself so that your team and your customer base feel they are meeting you for the first time again and again?
It’s not that difficult to conclude that, for every great business, there sits at the helm a great leader. Research shows that more than half of all businesses have a void when it comes to leadership development. Therefore, because of this incredible vacuum in talent, a substantial portion of the workforce does not stay at their place of employment but moves on to hopefully greener and better pastures.
The fact is that being a great leader takes more than just theory and tactics. You need to visualize and create the kind of leadership you wish to offer and then, with practice and forging ahead, you can ensure not only the success of your business but how you are rated in the eyes of captains of industry who started out just like you.
Here are some tips for making that happen for you:
1. Never lose sight of the vision you have for your business. No matter how busy you are running between meetings, phone calls, agendas, reviewing projects and so on, you must always take a moment to take stock of your horizon and assess if it still looks the same as when you started.
2. Show confidence when others cannot. Leaders are put in an unusual position. You need to lead and know what you are doing at all times because that is what your followers expect. So, make sure that whenever you make a decision, you own it, no matter the outcome. Even if it fails, you will be respected for having the courage to follow through with your convictions.
3. Effective time management is imperative. Aside from being the custodian of the vision you are asking everyone else to follow, your job is to become efficient at prioritizing what needs to get done and what can wait. This is a huge lesson in being able to decipher what is important and what is not. With practice, it will become easier.
4. Showcase your strengths -- and everyone else’s. A great way to create a brand for yourself is to be known as an influencer in some area. Surround yourself with others who can do the same. By empowering others who work with you, you are fostering loyalty and high morale. This will also seriously cut down on your attrition.
5. Optimism and communication go a long way. Energizing your team by communicating effectively your passion and beliefs for your business can be infectious. Do this well and often. You will start to see that others will want to kick into doing the pitch as well. Pretty soon, you will have everyone believing and feeling inspired.
6. Always hold your employees in high esteem. Give credit first to others, and give thanks always. Without them, you would be sitting alone in your office sharpening your own pencils and getting your own coffee. Be humble, stay humble, and you will go very far -- and, more importantly, be remembered.
7. Lead by example always. Your employees want to know that, no matter what, you are accountable for it all. Great leaders never back down. They are present when things are going well but especially when things are going wrong.
Since today’s environment has become so competitive, a strong leadership program should be incorporated in all organizations looking to make a difference in the world -- not only for the product or service they sell but for the people they groom and help prosper. If you are a leader, I hope you are forward-thinking and investing in giving your team the necessary resources to come into their greatness. Remember, these tips can help you create and sustain your own brand of leadership.
CEO and founder of Intinde, a business coaching service for the executive and entrepreneur wanting to reach their best potential.
This article has been published on Forbes.com