Elite Executive’s Eva Grabner reflects on what makes a great leader and provides practical tips for business owners.
A leader from my formative years who remains a role model for me was the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein.
Adam was a very strong leader who has grown that business into one of the top cruise companies in the world. Adam was (and still is) very passionate about the cruise industry, and about Royal Caribbean, which was infectious. Many employees to this day remain ‘loyal to royal’. Not only that, he was approachable.
He took time to talk with employees and he cared. That showed clearly in his communication, in his approach to staff and in his nature.
Adam led by example, and ensured leadership was part of the everyday culture of the business. Ideally, employees at all levels of the company can be empowered to lead. Here’s what I’ve learnt during my decade-long career in recruitment…
Be a strong leader
Your staff need to have confidence in your ability to lead and confidence in your ability to protect the business and make the right choices under difficult circumstances. When you lead by example, you will demonstrate strong leadership and will inspire loyalty, strength and pride in your employees.
A true leader is honest and transparent in all things, including the personal face they show the world. His or her actions align with and express core values. An authentic leader will inspire loyalty and confidence through vulnerability, which will encourage the same in others. Leaders who are authentic don’t keep employees guessing. They are open about challenges and setbacks, they own their mistakes and show their human side.
In order to lead successfully, you must master the skill of influence. Harnessing the power of identity is essential to influence. What is your identity? What rules and set of beliefs do you define for yourself and life by? Your business identity is your brand.
Ask your employees to describe the business brand. Once they give answers, assign them the task of fleshing out and expanding their sense of the business identity so that they can clearly communicate it to others. This will be essential in moving your business brand forward.
Don’t just delegate – encourage results
Delegation is an essential part of leading a business. You can’t do everything yourself but when you focus on just delegating, you are missing out on opportunities.
Instead of delegating and expecting employees to complete certain tasks, communicate to them what you need from the work and let them figure out how to make it happen. Support your employees as they work towards an outcome.
In this way you are sharing your goals with them and can see it through as a team. This will inspire your employees to feel more invested in the business and its outcomes.
Great leaders are great communicators. There is no exception to this rule.
If you do not have the ability to make your team understand outcomes, goals and mission, you cannot inspire them. Communication is the bedrock of any business as it forges true connections between people. Teach by example.
This is everything! If you are genuinely passionate about your business, your enthusiasm will infect your employees.
This is true for your employees also. If you want them to lead, they need to share your passion and only you can help them to do that.
One thing that most great leaders share is emotional intelligence. Without it, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to be a self-aware leader.
The self-aware leader understands his or her strengths and weaknesses but doesn’t stop there. He or she also works to maximise strengths and improve in weak areas. This kind of leader inspires employees to engage in the same kind of introspective self-analysis.
The result is a more productive team of self-aware and self-motivated people.
Leaders who encourage opposing opinions, criticism and new ideas/challenges have nothing to fear.
This kind of feedback will only enhance their performance and ability to lead and will invite employees into active roles in the business process.
He or she will inspire employees helping them to be unafraid to be innovative and to contribute. The key to being a good leader is to take a measured approach and work on your leadership over time. As your style grows, so will your employees!
Providing an unrivalled one-on-one bespoke service, Eva Grabner is the changing face of the recruitment industry. As an Executive Recruiter and Search Consultant with over a decade of experience, Eva works alongside her clients to understand their business and culture.
With an extensive global network and current knowledge on market conditions, Eva quickly identifies the best high performing candidates for her clients and works closely with both parties to ensure a seamless transition.