Posted on 17 August, 2015

Be A Better Leader

By Jacob Andreae in Leadership Be A Better Leader

[Photo credit: Chris Potter]

The role of leadership has changed since the turn of the century. Change occurs at warp speed these days and leaders must be adept at responding just as fast. Leaders don’t need to have all the industry specific skills but they do need to have the skills to lead when problems are coming at them thick and fast. Leaders must be innovative enough to improvise and adapt to problems that have never existed before and do so with flexibility.

Steve Vamos is a great example of how to be a great leader. He demonstrates that industry specific knowledge is not compulsory to lead well and achieve tremendously high levels of success.

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If you don't know how big the field of leadership is, just take a look at all the leadership programs out there. Developing leadership is a hot topic, and for good reason. In many cases, leaders are people who have a higher level of expertise in their given field and are willing to share their knowledge to support and develop others around them.

In an increasing number of cases, leaders are people who possess the ability to recognise the skills of others, empower them and find ways to make it easier for them to achieve the common goals of the team. Steve Vamos exemplifies this type of leader. Mr Vamos is a civil engineer who has more than thirty years experience in the Information Technology industry, having led, managed and directed teams for Microsoft, Apple and IBM.

One of the great feats in Mr Vamos’ career, in my opinion, was to take ninemsn, which was just starting out at that time, to dominate its market for a decade. In an interview with Business Review Weekly, Mr Vamos recounts how he had no domain experience at that time and knew nothing about advertising or media. He admits that in meetings, he knew less than the people around him. He acknowledges that this was a defining moment in his leadership development. Mr Vamos listened to what people had to say and used that information to get the best out of his team.

Steve Vamos is a great example of how to be a great leader. He demonstrates that industry specific knowledge is not compulsory to lead well and achieve tremendously high levels of success.

7 Ways To Be A Better Leader:

  1. Practice the things that make you uncomfortable.
    Based on your strengths and weaknesses, there are always things that you don’t like to do. These probably feel uncomfortable and it’s easy to procrastinate from doing them. The best way to grow and develop is to practice the things that make you feel uncomfortable. Get comfortable being outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Encourage your team to disagree with you.
    So long as people are respectful, you can achieve incredible outcomes when people feel confident to disagree. Teams where members feel confident to challenge decisions and ideas become much more cohesive, productive and successful. 
  3. Learn something new about your industry every day.
    With changes occurring so fast these days, it is unrealistic to expect one person to be the ‘hero leader’ and know everything. Leaders don’t need to know anything about a particular industry in order to effectively lead. Whether you are highly experienced or know nothing at all about your industry, plan to learn something new about it every single day. 
  4. Train others only when you really know the topic.
    Only train, coach and teach people on what you know. It is extremely obvious when you don’t know a topic well and it hurts your credibility and reputation. If you know someone can train your team in a specific niche better than you, get them in. If this is someone in your team, that’s great - lucky you. 
  5. Gather resources you use and that you would recommend to others.
    Create a library of resources at your disposal. As a leader, people will always be asking for your advice. Have resources available to back up everything you say and offer to people, should they wish to know more. This could be a bookshelf or filing cabinet of hard copy documents or soft copy folders systematically saved and well organised on your cloud based storage system - so you don’t lose them. 
  6. Reward creativity, not mindless task completion.
    One of the best ways to generate enthusiasm for one’s role is to allow them to use their own strengths and creativity. In addition to an increased enthusiasm, people feel a sense of ownership and they will probably complete their tasks better than you could ever have imagined. 
  7. Practice your leadership skills daily. 
    Leadership is a skill that needs to be developed just like a muscle is developed by lifting weight, or confidence is developed by practicing it. Plan to practice one component of leadership each day. The purpose of this is to strengthen your leadership skills, but more importantly, remind yourself on a daily basis that you are a leader, and strengthen your beliefs about that.

Leadership is a very important skill that has benefits in all components of life. Practice your leadership skills at every opportunity, even if it’s not in your recognised industry.

What other ways do you suggest to be a better leader?

I'll be discussing this blog LIVE on Periscope - Wednesday afternoon at 3:00pm Australian CST. Follow me on Periscope & Twitter @JacobTAndreae. 

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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