*5 min read*

Vision, optimism, pursuit of excellence, the quest to be the best - both professionally and personally - and the empowerment of others are the foundations of successful leaders.
They can see ahead of others, and they see bright futures of what their businesses will look like when they reach their destinies. They begin with the end in mind.
No matter what the situation, they will believe that things can get better or can be done better. The status quo is not for them, professionally or personally. They want to be the best and they want to experience the best. And they have the ability to empower their followers by listening and then opening the doors for others to lead themselves.
It is important to recognize that authentic leaders have a quest for leadership. They want to lead and make a difference. Leaders welcome competition and they recognize that they will be challenged by the competition. The competitive environment will push them to do more to stay ahead and to become even more successful.
Successful leaders have disciplined personal attributes and they will be adept at the two critical characteristics of time and personal management: prioritization and execution. That is, doing the most important things first and doing them well.
However, when leaders fail in an activity, they admit it and move on. They don't make excuses. They will do the right thing next time  no excuses, just get the results.

They live by Teddy Roosevelt's quote: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure ... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
Here are some easy tips to be a better leader starting tomorrow:

Talk about the future and dare to dream. Leaders think about the future and help others see the future. Don't just get locked into the current business activities.

Always be teaching something new to the people in the organization. Leaders must be involved in their organization and committed to growing organizational capability. Nothing sends that signal stronger than taking a moment to teach someone something.

Seek out a new idea from within the organization. Actively look for ideas and then champion them in the organization. This says a lot about the leader's ability to accept change as a characteristic to improve the organization's performance.

Tell someone they did a good job. Good leaders are not afraid to hand out praise when a job, large or small, is well done. This builds not only enthusiasm for the work, but it will build trust in the leader and the management team. In fact, the five most important words a leader or manager can speak are: "I am proud of you."

Get mad, then get over it. Leaders all have passion for the business and sometimes this passion turns to anger or frustration. This shows the leader is only human. However, an effective leader has the capacity to quickly move beyond emotion into constructive action.

Meet someone new in the organization. The leader should get out of the office and say "hello" to someone new. It is guaranteed that the leader will learn something every time and it is visible proof to the organization that the leader cares.

Say "yes." Authentic leaders are not afraid to make a commitment, to make a choice, to move on. So the leader should find something where they can say "yes." Nothing says the leader trusts the organization more than the power of agreement.

Actively listen. Many leaders talk about being good listeners, but very few of them are really good at it. When a leader is asked to listen to someone, they should use clarifying and confirming skills but not offer their point of view until the presenter says, "What do you think?"

Be enthusiastic. Leaders need to have enthusiasm and energy. And they need to transfer this energy to the organization and the business problems at hand. Leaders need to practice being outright enthusiastic about an idea and then they will see how significantly people will change.

Have fun. Leaders typically enjoy what they are doing, no matter how tough the task. People want to follow someone who enjoys what they are doing and to be part of a fun environment.

Reprinted from Capital Region Business Journal, Madison, Wisconsin –January 2006 issue.



Management is a process, Leadership is an art form.

When you understand these two concepts, you can properly understand how to build your business internally. 

As your business and your team grow and you begin to have the right people on your team, its time to look at the difference between management and leadership. Management is a process, straightforward and simple to understand, yet takes time to properly implement.  

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