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8 Ideas for Leadership Success

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Leadership success is based on a positive outlook and these eight ideas can help you achieve it. As leaders, we must keep our focus on the future and what it has in store for us. We must pursue a level of success that we want for ourselves and not be worried about what past failures signify. We must ask the right questions at the right times in order to achieve breakthroughs. Mark Sanborn discusses eight ideas that can be adapted to become a powerful and successful leader. 

1. You and I know how good we have become, but we don’t have any idea of how good we could be.

What great projects are you undertaking in your business? In your life? Many people go through life driving with their dome lights on instead of their headlights. What you have become is important, but not nearly as important as what you can be.

2. More important than achieving your goals is pursuing your potential.

It is satisfying to achieve your goals and objectives, but that’s no proof that you are living up to your true capabilities. Keep experimenting and trying new things in thepursuit of your true potential.

3. Losers make excuses. Winners make explanations.

Excuses don’t teach you anything and keep you from making needed changes. Explanations help you learn what went wrong and give you insights for needed changes.

…More at 8 Powerful Ideas for Achieving Success

Leadership success is measured in numbers and words. It can be difficult to quantify the specific impact that a leader has but we always look to do so. Success is more than just achieving a percentage growth for your company though. It is also about keeping focused forward and always working towards your potential. It is about learning from failures and implementing strategies to avoid the mistakes that caused these failures. Leadership success is achieved through maintaining a positive outlook with these eight powerful ideas.

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Developing Employee Potential for Leaders

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Potential. Everyone has some “potential”, but what does this mean? It means a proven ability to do well and it should be a goal of every leader to maximize the potential of their team. A leader needs to provide encouragement and instruction to nurture potential in their employees. 

Executive coach Joel Garfinkle gives us five ways to develop talent and unleash the potential of our teams. 

1. Give employees time to focus. With the frenetic pace of business, it's easy to get lost in a sea of deadlines and shifting priorities. The best leaders encourage employees to spend time absorbed in a single project or area of focus—especially when it's a stretch assignment that will challenge their abilities.

Some of the most innovative companies in the country put a priority on free or flexible time. For example, Google developers and engineers receive “20 percent time”—eight hours a week they can devote solely to projects of their choice. Likewise, Bell Labs—one of the biggest American innovators of all time—gave scientists and engineers the opportunity to spend years researching a single product.

2. Promote the value of learning. Leaders should be on a constant lookout for professional development opportunities. Taking time to focus on learning helps employees crystallize their goals and determine what skills and areas of growth are most important to them.

As I mentioned, General Electric is one example of a company that places a premium on promoting the value of professional development and learning. The company has a Chief Learning Officer and spends $1 billion a year in training its employees through the GE Global Learning initiative. That's about $3,500 per year for each of their 290,000 employees.

3. Ask lots of questions. It's no secret that leadership requires clear and effective communication. When it comes to developing talent, leaders should focus on the listening side of the communication equation. Find out what's important to employees, what experience they have, where they see themselves in the future, and what excites them about the company.

Colin Powell nicely sums up the importance of listening and effective communication: “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” His words are just as true in the corporate world as they are in the military one.

4. Give frequent, specific feedback. It's far too easy for managers to only give feedback during performance reviews or to offer vague platitudes. The best mentors provide quality feedback that's timely, genuine, and focused on desired behaviors. It's also important to be positive and forgo any personal judgments.

To reinforce how critical providing quality feedback is, try Googling “leaders and the importance of feedback.” The search yields over 18 million results (and lots of good advice).

5. Treat failure as an opportunity for improvement. Nobody likes failure, but everybody enjoys saving face. When employees fail, they're often at their most vulnerable. And that's a good thing. It means they're open to receiving feedback, trying new approaches, and improving areas of weakness. Stay positive as you help your team members take advantage of these opportunities.

Some of the most meaningful learning in my life has been in response to failure. A beloved high school teacher of mine often used the mantras, “Failure is a better teacher than success,” and, “The bigger the failure, the bigger the lesson.” Obviously, no one wants to encourage failure, but it's important to realize that it will happen—and embrace it for what it is: a learning opportunity.

…More at The Myth of Potential: 5 Ways to Develop Talent

Developing potential is an ongoing process that every leader should be actively undertaking. Without performing these five development techniques you may be losing out on increased productivity and creativity. True innovation can be gained by allowing teams time to focus and an ability to fail. Great leaders allow their employees to succeed by inspiring them to excellence. 

 
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