Employer Branding

How to Win at Leadership

Few are born as leaders. Many shy away from the job, and only a few embrace the change, dedication and passion it takes to mold, upgrade and mentor a team. There are several reasons why individuals avoid management positions or why management and leadership positions seem to avoid them.

What propels some to the next level is strict discipline and unrelenting drive to not only improve oneself but to improve others as well.

Simply stated, winning as a leader means acquiring distinct behaviors and attitudes. Below, you’ll find a few.

1. Embrace risk, loss and failure.

Leaders are not afraid to fail; they encourage calculated risk taking. They view failure as one step closer to success as opposed to allowing setbacks to mentally discourage them and, in turn those under them.

2. Winning leaders know their purpose.

With a firm understanding of what they wish their team to achieve both in the long and short term, they execute their tasks with velocity and agility. They foresee changes in business and rapidly adapt. This leaves their team at less risk of losing confidence and momentum – both key components and allies for the leader who desires to win.

3. Establish an environment of mutual trust.

Winning leaders know that low levels of trust between subordinates and management leads to costly mistakes, slower execution and reduces positive risk taking and innovation.

To gain the trust of others, winning leaders respect and trust the opinions and recommendations from the employees who are on the ground level. There is a firm understanding that micromanagement reduces trust between all parties.

Winning leaders make sure their team knows the overarching plan, trusts they will do their job (i.e., gets out of the way) and allows those individuals to operate, grow and utilize their creativity and intelligence to further the competitive advantage of the group.

4. See it, believe it and make it happen.

Leaders envision a clear goal and, in a lucid, direct manner convey the desired outcome to those under them. They stay firm to achieving the end result and naturally lead by example.  Regardless of how lofty their goal may be, they instill confidence in themselves and others through small wins which forge confidence and cohesiveness among the team.

5. Precise time investment.

Winning leaders invest their time where there is the most return on investment. They judge each employee based on performance and cut ties when they are involved in a losing hand.

Winning leaders have a clear and compelling understanding as to which subordinates and business segments will provide the greatest ROI and who unfortunately drags the team’s performance to lower levels.

They don’t protect under performers. Winning leaders understand that leadership means making difficult decisions and contenting to invest in a losing proposition always ends up backfiring.

6. Despite setbacks, winning leaders stay the course.

Winning leaders do everything possible not to get sidetracked, lose interest and settle back into bad habits. They make a habit of excellence, closely track the progress of their subordinates and ensures everyone remains on course.

In the End.

Winning leadership takes practice. It entails cultivating the right state of mind in oneself as well as in those whom they lead. While leaders come in all different shapes, sizes, sexes, personalities and experience levels, they all channel their energy to improvement in themselves and others and consistently strive to meet the highest of standards – the foundation of all winning leadership.

By Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.