Effective Business Leadership

I have had the wonderful privilege of working with some very effective business leaders.  There are a number of actions that the very best business leaders do and emphasize, which causes their companies to excel and remain resilient, even during very hard times.  Below are three actions that I consistently observe from leaders of successful organizations.

  • Key People are held Accountable– The very best leaders set goals, measure results, and hold their people accountable for the results. Notice that people can only be held accountable if goals are set and results are measured.  Rudolph Giuliani relates how significant improvement was achieved while he was mayor of New York by The Administration for Children’s Services.  “Beginning in 2000, ACS begin issuing numerical grades for all agencies that contract for foster services, on a scale from 1 to 100.  Those scores were then made public so each foster parent could see who was above average and who below (Giuliani, p.93, 94).”   The program was very successful.  Giuliani concluded, “No matter what you’re tracking, comparing results to previous indicators, then demanding improvement is the best way to achieve anything (Giuliani, p.96).”
  • The Leaders are continually Improving- Not only do the best leaders hold their key people accountable, but they hold themselves accountable by continually improving both their leadership abilities and their knowledge and application of their company’s products and/or services. John Stockton was a member of the NBA’s Dream Team.  Jack McCallum says concerning Stockton, “What made his career in basketball were his abnormally large hands and his abnormally large capacity for self-improvement (emphasis mine) (McCallum, p.96).”  The best leaders are also readers in many areas, learning and applying knowledge they glean from other experts to make themselves and their people more effective.
  • Majority Opinion does not Dictate Their ActionsThe best leaders make decisions based on what they know to be right based on their experience, knowledge, and gut feel. It can be lonely at the top.  Others and members of their team may not always understand some decisions, but the leader moves ahead even if that means alone.  That decision is what leaders do.

*Giuliani, Rudolph W., (2002), Leadership

*McCallum, Jack, (2012), Dream Team

photo credit: 3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept via photopin (license)


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