Much has been written on what makes a great leader. From morning routines to management styles, plus tips and tricks on the best ways to lead–when it comes to leadership, many theories have already been examined.
While that advice can make for a good read or a timely reminder, it’s equally important to look at how those who have attained leadership positions came by them. Were there specific characteristics they possessed or career paths they followed?
After co-founding and running a company for more than 20 years, there are four tried and true ways I’ve seen people earn their leadership positions.
This isn’t about people getting themselves fired insomuch as it’s about becoming so good at their position that they are no longer needed in that role.
People who have succeeded and risen to the top have done so because they’ve proven they can do more. They have taken the time to perfect their skills and complete the tasks assigned; at the same time they have proven themselves to be dependable, people whom the team turned to because the job would be done well and right.
I’ve found that the people who have been the most successful at a position long term were the ones who were most excited about it, not those who had the most experience. Nowadays, if an employee is good at something they stick with it, perhaps for their entire career. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but what excites people today won’t necessarily excite them tomorrow.
Those who really grow and become leaders pursue interests that are fuelled by their passions. In some companies that may be easier said than done, but it’s important for people to speak up and make it known what they are interested in.
It’s also important to encourage people to take risks, and that can mean taking on a role or a project in an area that is perhaps not their specialty but that interests them–this has the uncanny ability to open doors and offer growth experiences.
Those that excel and grow their role within a company master bringing all the information to the table before asking for input or recommending a decision. This hands-on approach to experiencing the issue before making a call is a sure-fire way to get their mind thinking about how best to fix the issue. Bringing solutions and recommending a decision to their manager shows they are committed to finding the best solution, rather than hoping someone else will solve it for them.
Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield once offered a tip that applies in this case: Practice making decisions and sticking with them–this will help you get better at making them because you will have to live with the consequences.
Trusting one’s gut can be hard to do because it is often described as having a “feeling” as to why they should or shouldn’t do something. There may not be physical evidence to back this unconscious reasoning.
For people to trust their guts really means having confidence in themselves and their abilities. Trusting in the belief that they have their role for a reason helps them make decisions based on incomplete information.
It also helps them realize that having their decisions questioned is not only okay but also required to lead and create an environment that encourages others to learn and grow.
—Tommy Petrogiannis co-founded Silanis Technology in 1992. As president and CEO, he is responsible for setting the company strategy and vision, building corporate culture, and ensuring the entire team is working towards the corporate goal of delivering the best possible customer experience.