How Successful Leaders Think

We all know leaders we view as more successful than others.  Maybe they get more accomplished with their team.  They might have more camaraderie amongst their team members.  Maybe they give their team more freedom.  Whatever the measuring stick, they are more successful.  Here are some tips on how successful leaders think.

First, let’s talk about how less successful people think.  Typically, they haven’t established a goal they want to accomplish.  When they run into a roadblock, their thinking goes like “I don’t know how to do that”… so they stop.  Why do they stop?  They didn’t have that burning desire to achieve a goal that made them push through.


Tip 1- They start with a vision

Successful leaders start with a vision or a goal.  They envision what they want to happen.  They communicate that vision with others on the team.  They map out a plan of action and when they come across roadblocks or areas where they don’t know; they say to themselves – I don’t know how to do this; I have to learn it.

If they don’t have time to learn it themselves, they focus on finding someone who knows it and will help.  Because they have established a vision, they don’t let minor issues get in their way.  They get creative in finding solutions to reach the vision.

Tip 2- They develop a plan to learn

If they have to learn a new skill or task, they schedule it in their calendar.  Since it all starts with doing what is necessary to support the vision, learning unfamiliar things might be a part of it.  Maybe to move to the next level in the organization they have to improve their public speaking.

They might join a local Toast Masters group to improve in that area.  Maybe they need additional technical skills.  They search out ways to learn the required technical skills and schedule it on their calendar.  Whatever it is, it gets scheduled and measured.

Tip 3- They define success

Having the vision established, they also define what success looks like in meeting the vision.  Success might look like reduced errors in the area that they lead.  Is a 1% reduction a success?  It could be, but that will not sound very exciting to their employees.

“We will reduce our errors within the order entry process by 25% within 90 days using a do-check-do process and employee engagement.”  That sounds more exciting and engaging to employees.  Successful leaders think of ways to define success that everyone can support.

Tip 4 – They measure success

They use KPIs and scorecards to track performance, improvement, and direction toward the goal.  They share this information with the department and employees.  They aren’t afraid to make “half-time” adjustments if they have to.

Transparency is a key element for being a successful leader, and they share as much information as they can.

These are a few tips on how successful leaders think. I hope you measure yourself against these four tips to understand how you are performing!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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