Leadership is a choice. One can choose to be a leader or a follower. It doesn’t matter your position at your company, you can be a leader. One may have all the skill sets necessary to be a successful leader but never act on them. Another may have the determination to be a good leader but must work on acquiring the skills. Regardless of where you are at in your career, leadership is a choice.
Leaders make things happen. Leaders motivate people. Leaders listen…. Really listen. Leaders admit when they are wrong. Leaders surround themselves with great people. Leaders delegate. Leaders strategize. Leaders build relationships. Leaders help. Leaders are honest. Leaders are committed. These are just some of the characteristics of being a good leader in your firm. If you are leading a team of 300 or just yourself, you must exhibit leadership traits to build a strong firm or advance in your career.
If you already possess the skills to be a leader, then you must implement them. Continually challenge yourself to be a better leader. There are TONS of books, podcasts, webinars, and seminars you can take to help hone your skills. As a firm leader, one of the most important traits is listening. You must listen to your clients, prospects, employees, vendors, suppliers, and other industry partners. They will give you a wealth of information and advice if you listen. You don’t have to take all their advice and implement but if there is a recurring topic or issue discussed, then this may be something to further investigate and put a plan together to address it.
There are local, regional, and national peer groups your firm can be a part of too. This typically involves 3-4 face-to-face meetings, off site, per year that last 1-2 days. These peer groups talk about growth, finances, human resources, marketing, operations, accounting, strategy, and best practices. You can build strong relationships with peers, not in your geographic territory, that will help grow your firm. These groups can help you take your firm to the next level.
A mechanical contractor was a part of a peer group. They had several different seminars throughout the year for each contractor. The CEO/COO/CFO had 2-3 face-to-face meetings per year to discuss strategy, growth, finances, and operations. Once a year, all the service managers would gather for a day or two to discuss service departments and the challenges and solutions. They also had a seminar for the sales teams to brainstorm about best practices. Being involved in this peer group set them up for success. Over the course of three years, they increased their profit margin by 3%, which is HUGE in the mechanical contracting industry.
If you are not a leader in your firm yet, get involved in an industry, client, or non-profit board. These positions allow you to showcase your leadership skills and learn about working as a team. This will set you up for advancement in your career. If you don’t possess the traits of a leader, there are also the same resources for you. Explore your opportunities and determine which one is the best for you. Each person is different based on their level of leadership.
You are not born a leader. Some have more skills or are given more resources than others, but the choice is YOURS… no one else’s. If you want to be a leader in your firm, figure out how to do it and do it. Leadership is a choice.