What are the 5 distinctions of a Breakthrough Business Leader?
The key to exceptional business is exceptional people, and to transform your people, you must build a culture of growth.
Great business leaders consistently exhibit exceptional personal power. They have an inordinate ability to turn Insights, Inspiration and Intentions into reality without controlling, manipulating or dominating their people. In the process, they create a culture of trust and exceptionally talented individuals who build businesses with sustainable, generational growth.
These leaders have 5 specific traits that distinguish them as “Breakthrough Business Leaders.”
DISTINCTION #1: THEY LEAD PEOPLE BY ENROLMENT AND ENGAGEMENT
Breakthrough Business Leaders lead people, not companies. They recognise that leading, motivating, and coaching is about the people and not about an organisation. Understanding what drives individual behaviour is important, as is recognising how to motivate and inspire. The Breakthrough Business Leader observes others and knows that ultimately, people want to lead their own lives. Employees want to be empowered and inspired, and they also want to travel their own journey.
A Breakthrough Business Leader’s power does not come from title or authority, it comes from authenticity and the ability to relate to people, the capacity to enrol them in the journey and engage their energies and emotions in the goals of the organisation. The Breakthrough Business Leader works to inspire and empower the individual, and that means being flexible enough to relate at many different levels—even when the individual in question rebels against authority.
These leaders lead from the front with words and actions that are congruent. They recognise that you can’t lead from the back and have a clear understanding of what’s going on in the trenches. To be effective, the leader needs to be in front of the consumer and in front of and with the employees. The Breakthrough Business Leader understands generational, cultural and individual differences and intrinsic desires, because they lead people, not processes or organisations.
DISTINCTION #2: THEY LIVE THE VISION NOW
Breakthrough Business Leaders know that “the vision” doesn’t exist in some far-off future. The vision is where you come from each day. It is how you think, and how you act. Living the vision means making an intentional effort to achieve goals now and bring the future into the present.
These leaders live in alignment with their vision. They think the vision, act the vision, and communicate the vision. If a leader’s goal were to create an environmentally friendly company, that leader would do everything possible to personify that vision immediately, even if it will take years to bring the vision to fruition completely. Office supplies, cleaning products, plants in the lobby, and even the food served in the company cafeteria would reflect the vision. The leader’s personal choices, from their clothing, to the car they drive, would symbolise their commitment to the vision.
DISTINCTION #3: THEY RAISE STANDARDS
Breakthrough Business Leaders set “impossibly high” standards for themselves. They understand that they need to demand more from themselves than they do from the people they lead. This goes beyond the simple notion of being a good role model. They believe that anything is possible; therefore, they consistently strive to achieve the impossible.
A common mistake a new leader makes is to continue to operate at the level that got them to their current position. They assume they’re already “good enough,” not realising that the new promotion requires an entirely new level of standards. This leads to their slippage into “Business-as-Usual” mode without raising their own standards.
When a leader fails to raise their own standards, they lower the standards for the entire organisation. By showing that there’s never a point where one gets to rest on one’s laurels, the Breakthrough Business Leader sets the example that continual growth is an essential part of the company’s culture.
DISTINCTION #4: THEY ARE LEADERS, MANAGERS AND COACHES
Breakthrough Business Leaders shift between three roles: leader, manager and coach. They lead people, manage “stuff” and coach performance. When leaders bundle these roles into one, they don’t live up to their Breakthrough potential. The roles become diluted, with none of them being executed to their maximum level.
We have seen many executives putting every task on their “To-Do” List, operating as though they can manage everything. This type of leadership disempowers the organisation.
When a leader acts as a manager, they should be working on timelines, projects and deadlines—not developing staff. People cannot be managed; they can be led and inspired. It doesn’t take people skills to manage paper and projects (stuff). However, it does take people skills to work with people. They are different jobs.
A leader supervises the environment and processes around people to help them succeed and empowers staff by giving them the tools and skills to manage themselves.
When a leader is working with their team and sees a performance issue, their role at that point is coaching. Again, this is a different function. It requires one-on-one attention, perhaps reinforcing a vision, providing help developing skills or making sure the employee is in alignment with the overall goals of the company.
Great leaders understand the distinction between leader, manager, and coach and they sharpen their skills to become good at all three.
DISTINCTION #5: THEY CREATE LEADERS
The role of the leader is to create more leaders, not followers. A company with one powerful leader and a collection of acolytes is limited regardless of the leader’s vision and talents. A breakthrough company needs people at every level who can lead in alignment with the company’s vision.
Creating leaders entails a certain amount of openness and self-assurance from the Breakthrough Business Leader. Someone who feels threatened by the growth of the people who work for them is likely to stunt that growth. What the Breakthrough Business Leader understands is that the organisation’s overall success is a reflection of their leadership. A team that produces great results, growth and innovation shows that the head of their business is a superb leader.