When I left my corporate world, the word leadership was the last thing on my mind. And now, that word is so prominent in my thoughts, and is often at the cornerstone of everything I do. It has to be if you want to create a business for yourself.
A successful one that is.
You may think, why, I am just starting out in business, what has leadership got to do with anything?
Well, leadership is really about leading yourself first, and choosing to create the life you want for yourself. Only once you have done that is it about leading others. If you’re starting a business or building it further, it is all about leadership from the moment you get out of bed each morning. And importantly what you do next when you wake up.
‘Leadership is a choice not a position’
I have always been a follower. When I worked in the corporate world for over 10 years I would do as I was told. I followed whomever I was reporting to. Again and again. Not surprisingly, I felt I never succeeded in my corporate career.
It was only really when I decided to start my own business, I realised I needed to lead myself first. And I did, more and more. And only later I would start to lead others.
As you can see, my own business changed everything for me when I started leading.
I would regularly ask myself how to lead by asking these questions to myself and others:
And note, leading can be in the form of how you act in something as small as an email or a phone call. Or something as big as how you want to lead your career and life.
So in any conversation, whether business or personal related, ask the following question ‘what would be most impactful for the person in front of me (and for myself)?’ Then lead the conversation to make sure that it happens.
You will be surprised by the effect the above questions can have on creating a successful business.
'As leaders, you are at CAUSE of everything you do. Not at effect.'
What else do I mean by leading?
Finally ‘be you’. This one I think is powerful. Be open and authentic about who YOU really are and what you stand for. Live by your own values, not other peoples, and importantly don’t be afraid to bring your unique personality to the world. That means lead in your own style, so don’t be afraid doing it your own way. Therein lies your power.
And note leadership is very different from management. Leadership is about doing the right thing. Leaders are the architects, they focus on the creation of a vision, and in doing so there is a sense of feeling/movement attached to their cause.
Here are some more key distinctions:
|Leaders are people who do the right thing||Managers are people who do things right|
|Leadership is about coping with change||Management is about coping with complexity|
|Leadership has about it a feeling, a sense of movement||Managing is about handling things, about maintaining order, about organisation and control|
|Leaders are concerned with what things means to people||Managers are concerned about how things get done|
|Leaders are the architects||Managers are the builders|
|Leadership focuses on creation of a common vision||Management is the design of work, it's about controlling|
And when you do decide to lead others, start thinking of how you can create as many impactful moments, where any interaction you have with someone creates a positive impact in their lives. That is a great characteristic for any successful business.
What all this means is ANYONE can choose to be a leader in whatever they do in their business and life.
Do you want to be one?
'The problem is that while authority can compel action it does little to inspire belief. Only leadership can do that. It is not enough to get people to do what you want, they have to also want what you want or any change is bound to be short lived.'
Written by: Indy Agnihotri
Experienced Chartered Accountant, Business Coach & Lecturer, specialising in providing accounting, coaching, and business advice.
My love of working with individuals, business owners & students drives me to support them in whatever context - whether that means assisting them in growing their business, providing business advice, helping them in their career, or coaching them in whatever aspect of their lives.
What drives me is working on the possibility and potential that exists in all of us.