I attended a conference this week, both as an attendee and a presenter. We closed up the final day today and I am exhausted. Going home to put my feet up and get more than 3.5 hours sleep.
For my presentations, I moderated interviews with two CEOs on their career trajectory, leadership philosophy and values.
The CEOs were two distinctly different individuals and it was two very different interviews. One was a more relaxed, casual leader and the other was quite formal in style and expectations from me, however they had very similar leadership strategies and mantras.
The best part of these leadership strategies, the true “secret sauce,” is that there is no “secret.” Leadership comes down to a few basic principles. I found a few famous quotes from my favorite comedienne Lucille Ball to help me illustrate them.
1. Work Hard: Easy enough. Work harder than those around you. If you understand half the process, take steps to find out the whole before you initiate (even if outside your realm of expertise). Make underpromising and overdelivering a regular occurrence. 100%=150%.
2. Positive, authentic self: No, you don’t need to walk around with a Joker-esque smile on your face when you’re miserable, but there are constructive ways to handle adversity, especially in front of colleagues and your teams. If you are a manager, your teams follow your example. Additionally, you have to be invested in your purpose and mission to be authentic. Fakes are easily exposed and quickly disposed. Bring the real you to the table. Show what you can offer.
3. Keep learning. How? Listen and read. The best leaders are the best listeners. You don’t have to have an immediate solution to an issue. You do have to be thoughtful, well researched and demonstrate you are paying attention. Listening is not a skill everyone is good at. It takes practice and patience. Questioning skills are everything. CEOs are also voracious readers. They spend at least 30 mins to 1 hour a day reading everything from news to business books.
CEOs are busy managing companies and their own knowledge base.
Now let’s apply these same mantras to you and me. Normal folk. Well, some of you may be CEOs so let me know if you think there is anything I may have missed!!
Pursue your tasks with energy and drive, stay positive and authentic, and make learning a priority. Not a hard to obtain combination if you ask me.
I admit I need practice on my listening skills in general. I can do an interview and be laser focused. However, when the interview is done my immediate response is back to my brain going in a million different directions.
How about you? What will you practice in order to demonstrate your excellence?
All in all it was a productive, valuable week! Onto the weekend.