Everybody wants to be listened to and followed. However, aiming for a leadership position is not a decision to take lightly. Indeed, leadership roles are best suited for personality types that welcome responsibilities. Being responsible for your team and your business is not quite the same thing as managing a company. While the leader tends to be the founder of the company, it isn’t always the case. In fact, in a lot of small businesses, the leader’s position becomes vacant once the founder retired. In other words, if you are considering aiming for the top, you need to be prepared to tackle the responsibilities that come with the job.
You have a duty of care towards your team, your business, and your audience. Making it your top priority can help you to navigate the troubled waters of leadership.
Stand by your ideas
Making your way to the top is never easy. However, while a lot of internal promotions are built on experience and acquire and knowledge in a specific area, it’s fair to say that leadership is a lot more than taking an exam or adding a degree to your resume. While there is no denying that the appropriate degree can prove useful, you need more than good marks to convince your peers that you’re the right person to steer the ship. You need to have ideas that are not only relevant to your company, but that will also dramatically improve performance, work-life, or even safety. Leading begins by observation. You need to identify areas of improvement that have been overlooked by the previous leader – or lack of leadership. Preparing a handy report to present your observations and your suggestions could pave your way to the directors’ board. You need to feel confident enough about the viability of your ideas. Not only will it be your job to defend them and convince the board and the investors that changes are positive, but you will also be the first person to take the blame if the implementation fails. As a result, you can’t afford to prepare a solid strategy to make the company better. Leaders need to stand by their ideas and guide people through changes.
Make everyone feel safe at the work
As a leader, you need to be aware of the work situation in the office and on the manufacturing floor. While it doesn’t mean you should be able to replace every single one of your employees, you have to understand where potential safety risks lie. Ultimately, should things go wrong for a variety of reasons, you are likely to be the first person a work injury attorney will contact to discuss compensation. To put things clearly, you need to guarantee safe work conditions to your teams, regardless of where they sit in the company. From heavy machinery to desk jobs, maintaining high safety standards is a priority. Therefore, you should consider running regular risk assessment audits. Besides, ensuring your employees can feel safe in the workplace includes acting as a role model to reduce the risk of discriminatory behaviors.
Take the hit for the company
Sometimes, things go wrong. When despite your best efforts, the company still misses its target and delivers a poor experience or faulty product to your customers, the market expects your company to show humility and apologize. While public apologies can be tricky, they can sometimes make a huge difference to the brand’s reputation. Should a leader apologize all the time? While opinions are divided on the subject, the rise of public apologies has proven an effective strategy to put behind errors that would otherwise be costly. It is a way of recognizing wrongdoings and showing humility to the audience. More importantly, it means that when leaders apologize for the mistakes of their company, they are likely to avoid a lawsuit and secure their reputation.
Your company is judged by your actions
Aside from admitting the errors made by the company and accepting the blame for those, leaders are also responsible for the way their actions affect the company. Taking someone like Elon Musk as an example, his erratic behaviors in 2018 has affected stock prices for Tesla. While the sales numbers have remained healthy, investors have become cautious about the company. Your behavior in the public eye has consequences, and it’s indispensable that you not only understand but also accept these if you’re going to lead your company to success.
A leader is, in many ways, like a parent looking after their child – aka the company. You need to be a role model for your employees, but you also need to make sure you can show trustworthiness, reliability, a sense of duty, and humility, both to your staff and your audience. If you’re going to show the way, make sure people are ready to take you seriously.