In my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with some chief executives of various organizations and institutions. Interaction with these movers and shakers of various fields of specialization was an objective that I mapped out two years ago to be able to find out what virtues and values got them at the helm of their respective organizations. So, climbing the career ladder and establishing oneself as a reputable executive is leadership in itself but there are certain fundamentals that must be adhered to for a person to sit at the corner office.
One of the leadership lessons I’ve learnt from the CEOs is unrivaled integrity. A high level of integrity is an absolute standard that one needs to have to be a captain of an organization of repute. One of the most fascinating and interesting definition of integrity is that carved out and given by the United States of America Marine Corps. The Marine Corps define integrity as doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Learning from a top executive, a person needs to act in the rightful manner not just when people are around him or her but also when alone. So, when alone are you always doing the right things or doing things the right way? If yes, then you have a good level of integrity but if no, then you’ve got to work on your personality. The majority belongs to the latter category and therefore to standout as a leader one needs to be different in a positive way from the mass.
Definiteness of purpose is another trait. This is a necessity that is exhibited by the top-notch executives. When you figure out what distinguishes them from the ordinary ‘gang’ is the sense of purpose that they have. Having a purpose in life is one thing and how well you orchestrate it is another different thing. Identify the exact purpose as to why you are carrying out a particular activity. What distinguishes remarkable leaders from the failed ones is the exactness to which they attach to their activities. Goals and objectives that we set in our various spheres of life need to be met with exactness that is exclusive. What I’ve learnt from these organizational heads is that vagueness in purpose leads to vague results.
The ability to listen more and speak less is a lesson that I have certainly picked up from these executives. This is one of the main reasons as to why not all people are leaders or simply put, one of the reasons why some leaders aren’t successful. It isn’t God’s will or nature’s will that we coincidentally have two ears and one mouth; we should be able to listen more and talk less. The more you listen, the more ideas you assimilate and the more wiser you become. Talking more than necessary oftentimes creates and leads to memory brevity. This is not a suggestion that a person needs to be quiet but the weighty lesson we are supposed to learn is the ability to lend an ear to different people and individuals.
In life, one needs to be ruthlessly and fiercely ambitious. This is a core lesson as explicitly demonstrated by these institutional captains. The remarkable CEOs are normally ambitious with a flair of aggressiveness and abrasiveness. They have their eyes set on positively changing different facets of humanity and society. They know what they want in life and they set out on a mission to achieve their goals and make their dreams come true. Portraying a unique ambition is what creates their unique personality leading to unique results. In this context, however, note that I am writing about uniqueness that is positive because it is what remarkable leaders are associated with. Do not expect to sit there and have great expectations about life you must get up on your feet and work towards your goals just like sailors do when they embark on a voyage.
The remarkable CEOs have a penchant for the small details. They invariably understand that the smaller details make the greatest difference. Most individuals have this notion that big acts automatically lead to greater changes. This is a relatively unwarranted and skewed perception that individuals need to review. We tend to overlook the minute details and this is certainly the point where we veer off the road to greatness and success in life. To be an outstanding leader one needs to decapitate the act of ignoring the little things. Paying attention to the smaller details eventually pays off in terms of goal attainment or in the creation of a market brand.
Another leadership lesson that I have bagged from these exceptional personalities is the precision that they attach to decision making. Definiteness of making decisions is one of the traits that sets them apart from the rest of the ordinary folk. In making decisions, these outstanding captains understand that making them hurriedly without any foresight will most likely lead to failure hence they take their ample time coupled with hindsight to make decisions that will ultimately be iced with high levels of efficacy. But what we need to learn is that in them taking their good time in making decisions does not imply that they waste a lot of time. There is certainly a time frame that they have set for themselves to be able to come up with ideas and proper decisions.
Time management albeit a common rhetoric, is one of the crucial deeds that separates the wheat from the chaff with regards to remarkable and failed executives. This is one particular field whereby many individuals talk too much about it but hardly stick to their words. Preaching water and taking wine are exact opposites. In other words, it is worthy to say what you mean and mean what you say. From these A-level executives, we must create time frames for the scheduled activities if we seek to achieve and attain our priorities in any given aspect of life. In managing time effectively, a significant lesson that I have learnt from them is to be able to differentiate which activities are necessary and which ones are a priority. Thus, in the quest of being exceptional as a leader an individual needs to fully embrace the act and practice of effective and efficient time management skills.
One of the lessons that I fancy and at the same time fascinates me as exhibited by these awe-inspiring and marvelous organizational leaders is their mastered ability and art to think big and dream big. What we ought to know is that we have casual dreamers who attach casualness in their way of doing things. These casual dreamers have casual thoughts and hence their inability to be remarkable. As a matter of fact, thinking big and dreaming big are very different from talking big. Remarkable CEOs delve into bold action to actualize their dreams. Dreaming big and thinking big is an unparalleled panache of being visionary and establishes a person as a shrewd leader.
Eminent CEOs surround themselves with smarter people than them. What I’ve overtly learnt is that your character and actions are the same if not similar to the individuals that you closely associate with. Uncommon executives do not suffer from the inferiority complex of having smarter people around them. They understand that to attain greatness there is need to bring on board smarter people than them because they know that building a self-fortress will definitely hinder progress.
These are just some of the fundamentals that I found necessary to share with my audience with regards to leadership lessons. The most important thing is to be able to apply these traits, virtues and values in our daily lives. In application of these simple principles we will be able to gravitate towards excellence, success and transformation in life.