5 tips for leadership success in 2010

John M McKee provides five leadership approaches that he's seen used by very successful leaders to ensure success.

 This year is going to be tough.  The forecasters are all over the place about the outlook.

Which indicators you use in your planning - economic growth, profit levels, unemployment rates, commodity prices, the value of the dollar, or others - how you see 2010 may be very different from the person right next to you.  We are in a period of uncertainty.  You can expect to face continual demands on your leadership and management skills.  Some leaders will fail; they won't be up to the demands. Others will shine and may look back on 2010 at a year that really fueled their career trajectory.

Here are five tips that could ensure you're in the latter group:

1. Remember that it's not what - but who. The most important decisions you will make as a leader; are always about people.  You may think they're about systems, things, or money, but they aren't.  When I sit with clients and discuss the best and worst decisions they remember making, it's always the people ones.  Surrounding yourself with the best people is important at all times of course.  But during uncertain times - it's critical. 2. Don't tell.  Ask.  One of the traits rated most highly by those reviewing their bosses is that they are most likely to use "open-ended questions."  Those leaders who principally operate in a "telling" mode miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on new ideas.  2010 will need new ideas more than ever. 3. Step up to the plate. Once you've heard everyone's ideas/suggestions/concerns, etc., then you need to act like a leader.  As a leader, one of the things you're paid for is to make decisions.  And successfully implement them.  Show your team and your boss that you're up to the challenge.  It will result in your getting more opportunities at the plate.  More times "at bat" results in more opportunity for "home runs."  Baseball legend Babe Ruth learned this early on. 4. Don't focus on one great success. The best leaders, like the best organizations, usually do many things very well.  The ones who rise to greatness based on one success story usually flame out.  Learning to move forward in small steps that have strong foundations is always a sound approach - it's especially important during a period that's very difficult to forecast. 5.  Don't let your industry dictate your success. Or failure.  There are a lot of stories of failures today - individuals have crashed and burned, organizations have failed, entire industries are in chaos.  And yet, even in high-profile sectors that have been ravaged, like the auto industry and service sectors, there have been great success stories.  Check out Ford Motor's stock prices and the fact that they have the Car of the Year awards from several industry groups.  This is a turned-around company led by a guy with zero experience in this cutthroat business.

As a leadership and business coach, I've seen how the power of one individual can make all the difference in the world to an organization.  You can do it, too.  Here's to a successful 2010!


Leadership Coach