5 Key Principles of Successful Leadership

March 16, 20214:20 pm1781 views
5 Key Principles of Successful Leadership
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Principles are the foundation for a system of behaviour, a chain of reasoning, and a rule of belief. Leadership principles, therefore, serve as the foundation for behaviour expectations from leaders in an organisation. With each individual bringing unique attributes that directly influence their leadership style, leadership principles are the common denominator for how leaders are expected to show up in an organisation and represent a company culture. 

Leadership principles on behaviours 

In general, leadership principles are not taught, rewarded, or recognised – yet it is a critical first step to a successful organisation. To live the principles, there should be professional developments from listening, trust, and recognition. When these professional developments are achieved, leadership can come alive in the behaviours that are used, felt, and observed across an organisation. Culture aligned with the principles is the sum total of behaviours in an organisation where leaders have a disproportionate influence. Ensuring that leaders embody their leadership principles is critical to building a company. 

In Principles of Management press book, it is suggested that leadership principles are the articulation and translation of an organisation’s core values into behaviours. Core values are essential and are a set of standards that individuals can easily accept and appreciate. They are an integral part of a company’s distinctive culture, meaning that when organisations invest in their company’s current and future leaders, they are fundamentally protecting their core values. Making sure leaders have the right tools and training will enhance how they use their leadership principles to serve as true leaders to the team members. 

The advantages of solid leadership principles are many. For example, the press book quoted William Arruda that companies with strong leadership cultures reported generating revenue above average, compared to their peer group. Apple founder Steve Jobs also believed that strong leadership – leaders who also play as coaches and team cheerleaders – always give positive influence in a company. These similar views have been frequently echoed by management consultant Tom Peters, as written in the press book. 

See also: What Really Matters in Leadership?

Key principles of strong leadership

To be an effective, most influential, and strong leader requires time and efforts. According to Knorr-Bremse leadership principles, there are at least 5 principles an individual must fulfil in order to be a great leader, including reflect, step forward, engage, develop, and execute. These principles are based on the opinion of more than 100 executives worldwide, in which Knorr-Bremse collected in a series of workshops to rework their 1992 leadership guidelines. 

Reflect – leadership begins with an honest look at oneself 

As a leader, first and foremost, you need to manage yourself effectively. This is achieved through regular reflection on your own strengths and weaknesses. You should continuously examine your attitudes and actions, actively seek feedback and, based on this, willing to take another look at your decisions. 

Being a leader also means being a role model. When change is necessary, you start with yourselves. Authenticity and integrity are essential to genuine leadership, therefore, pay attention to how people react to your leadership and closely observe changes in your business environment. 

Step forward – leading means stepping forward, not standing idle 

Technological excellence requires us to think ahead and reflect, to show courage and exercise care, to balance vision with tangible goals. By setting your sights on inspiring targets, you establish a clear direction. You can then show the way, boldly remove obstacles from the path, and confidently proceed forward. You can create a space that allows you to develop creative new solutions and to think outside the box. The power of innovation can open doors and gain new ground in your industries. 

Engage – targets are about numbers. Reaching them requires inspiration. 

Setting inspiring, measurable targets is only the first step. You should involve your people in the process of achieving targets, encouraging them to actively shape the future of your organisation. Different opinions derived from this relationship can act as an opportunity to benefit from different perspectives. 

How to encourage and engage your people? It is by relating them on both a professional and a personal level. Convince your employees based on the facts at hand, and motivate and inspire them too. These are the abilities you should constantly work to develop because you can achieve more together.

Develop – leaders create fertile ground for people to grow 

A significant part of the leadership role is recognising the potential of your employees and fostering their growth. Hence, invest the same determination and serious thought in the development of employees as you do in the development of products. 

To master the challenges of the present and the future, you can promote the continuing professional development of your people by filling management positions internally and actively preparing candidates with the potential for their next career step. You can also encourage people to take an active role in shaping their own careers and do not place limits on their growth. 

Execute – strong leadership is not about words, it is about results. 

When you make a promise, keep it. In difficult situations, you should remain focused on achieving the desired results. Motivate your employees to continuously re-examine standards, optimise processes, and set new benchmarks. At the same time, be willing to tolerate setbacks and mistakes, and learn from them. 

If necessary, you and your team should go the extra miles to take on responsibilities and show initiative. For example, prioritising adding value for your customers and promoting the interest of your company. Individual interest and short-term results take second place. In this way, leadership becomes the driving force for sustainable growth, for your company and your people. 

Key points: 

  • Leadership is about creating environments where people perform. It is about relationships and the complicated interaction between people. 
  • Leadership does not matter what you are doing. If a group of people are involved in trying to achieve a goal, leadership will have a disproportionate impact on the result. 
  • A person who cannot put others before himself can never be a truly effective leader. 
  • Leadership is a craft that is developed by seeing, doing, and learning. The more of it you do, the better you get at it. 
  • Leadership is influenced by relationships and people. If the right techniques can be explained and taught, leaders will improve. 
  • What is universal is that great leaders never stop learning. 
  • Leaders always have an honest look within themselves. They continuously examine their attitudes and actions by actively seeking feedback and willing to take another look at their decisions. 
  • Leaderships mean giving people a way to flourish with them, keeping innovation in check, and most of the time, they will be able to provide solutions. 
  • Strong leadership is about results as they will prioritise adding value for customers and promoting the interests in their company. 

Read also: HR in the Field of Managerial Leadership

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