I recently attended a meeting as part of an advisory group for business owners I’m a member of called Vistage. The topic for the session focused on what makes a good business leader. It’s something I care deeply about.

I went to China earlier this year as a guest of JP Morgan to speak with an audience of young people in their Next Generation programme. Because it’s young people growing up today, making their way in business and in life, that I love to help become the leaders of tomorrow.

Still learning

So if there’s anything I can still learn, that makes me a better leader now, and I can share that wisdom with tomorrow’s leaders, well, I’m up for that.

Consequently, my recent meeting was one I was looking forward to. And what did I learn that I can put into practice? In a word, lots. It was a great session reinforcing best practice and providing more valuable learnings for me.

I want to be the best leader I can be, to make sure my business is run the right way. And I come back to that word ‘care’ once more. We’re a family at KNP and it’s important I conduct myself in the right way so my business is behind me, and behind what we’re trying to do. Ultimately making KNP a place where everyone wants to work, and one that’ll continue to adapt and thrive.

Share the knowledge

But rather than simply take the knowledge and ideas from the meeting and apply them to my business, I thought, why don’t I share them with a wider audience. So here you go. The following are actions, behaviours, practices and points that were covered in my Vistage meeting and all contribute to making a good business leader:

  • What’s the definition of leadership? It’s inspiring change in human behaviour. So consider what that really means and what you have to do to exhibit great leadership.
  • Focus on the things that only you can do. Doing these is what will help your business the most. And allow others to do what only they can do.
  • Create an environment where people can become their best. Poor leaders limit the potential of their people. Lead people, manage processes.
  • Understand the talent potential within your organisation and maximise this potential within the team. Allowing everyone to grow.
  • Constantly ask yourself one key question: Are the assumptions you worked with yesterday still valid today? Change, and the speed at which it happens, is important if you’re to continue to be successful.
  • Accountability to the team is critical. Do what you say you will, setting examples in areas such as commitment, working diligently, your demeanour, how you treat others.
  • Be the leader you would like your son or daughter to be working for!
  • Debriefing is a vital process and skill; it requires an openness to be demonstrated by a leader to encourage that from others. Debrief and learn from every job – what can the team do better to improve, but just as importantly, what can you do better as a leader.
  • Leader development programs are essential to cultivate and develop your future leaders. Your team need help with learning, invest time in them and help them develop.
  • You must have a strategic plan to achieve your end goals – think long term, identify your objectives and understand how you’re going to get there.
  • Delegate and empower people to make decisions, and make change happen through creating a culture of innovation.
  • Job or profession….big difference. Create an environment where people see what they do as a profession and not ‘just a job’. People approach a profession differently and in doing so have a different mental approach and deliver better results. They give their all, conduct themselves in the right way and feel proud.
  • Who are the disruptors in your space? Don’t be a Kodak, Nokia or Blockbuster. Always pay close attention to what’s happening in your industry, what’s changing, and adapt to take advantage.

There it is. Hopefully you can take something out of this and build it into how you behave, to become an even better leader. And build an even better business.

By the way, the quote in the image above isn’t mine. It’s from Donald McGannon, a US broadcast industry executive. But it perfectly encapsulates the post. Have a top day, Dave.