How to be a successful (but nice) leader in less than 10 minutes
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a core value to “be nice”, but intrinsically it’s always felt like the right thing to do, especially in business. This doesn’t mean you’re not critical, at times pessimistic, and even direct with people when necessary, but there’s a way these all can be done without making the person (or people) feel two inches tall.
To that affect, I really appreciated Peter Shankman’s new book Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over, And Collaboration Is In. It outlines nine habits of successful and nice leaders, with tons of examples from across the global business marketplace.
I encourage you to read it (it goes fast) to go deeper into Peter’s nine habits, but here are several additional, worthwhile passages in the meantime.
There’s no way to institutionalize or “corporatize” niceness—it comes from the top person and permeates a place.
There’s a big difference between being nice and being taken advantage of. Good leaders know this and work accordingly.
Strong leadership is the most important competitive advantage companies have.
The one trait that underpins all other nice traits is enlightened self-interest—the act of doing something that benefits you and your constituents, whoever they may be.
It’s only when we see tending to the needs of others as helping ourselves that society becomes more civil and utter chaos doesn’t ensue.
The most basic responsibility that CEOs and other leaders have is the promotion of the welfare of their clients, workers, shareholders, and stakeholders.
Take care of yourself first, and you can care for others so much more effectively.
Insulating yourself from the people who make the business run is, without question, one of the best ways to start making bad decisions.
CEOs and leaders who are accessible have happier workforces and make better decisions about their companies.
CEOs can’t be accessible to everyone every minute, but they have to engender a spirit of accessibility among their most important constituents—employees being number one.
You have to put yourself in a position of being lucky. If you are getting along with others, it seems your odds are greater for getting lucky.
When you give people the tools to make the right decisions—and everyone understands the core values—they always do the right thing.
The millennial generation is loyal to companies that are loyal to them.
If all you’re telling people is to work hard and trust us, the quality of work you’re after is not going to get to the level you want to achieve.
Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.
Good listeners spend more energy than nonlisteners; they burn more calories and feel tired after listening well to another person or people.
Poor listening skills not only eat away at relationships, they also have a negative effect on decision making, implementation, and innovation.
As you become a senior leader, it’s a lot less about convincing people and more about benefiting from complex information and getting the best out of the people you work with.
The key is making yourself open to the possibility that information can and will come from almost anywhere.
Observation is another form of listening.
The quality of listening is governed by the intention behind it.
Good stewardship is about responsible management and ethical standards that are in sync with the concerns of all the constituents who are important to your business.
Great leaders are loyal to what works for the whole company and for all good employees.
True loyalty is investing in the people and ideas that are going to help everyone prosper and grow.
Execution-related skills — skills like persistence, efficiency, and being proactive — were the most important indicator of the most successful CEOs.
A good manager should spend 90 percent of his time listening and only 10 percent speaking.
Loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic, even plain-vanilla promises than on how dazzling the service experience might be.
Loyalty is built on the little things that you don’t really notice when they’re present, but that you do notice when they’re missing.
The most resonant and effective acts of customer service are the basics that make the customer’s life easier.
Understanding what makes your customers happy and what they care about is one of the easiest, yet most forgotten pillars of customer service.
What little things can you do to make a customer feel treasured?
Customer service is no longer about telling people how great you are. It’s about producing amazing moments in time and letting those moments become the focal point of how amazing you are, told not by you, but by the customer you thrilled.
“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” (Henry Ford)
Giving a damn goes beyond stewardship — it’s bringing personal integrity to your professional obligations.
Turning down the easy buck to instead do the right thing is one of the hardest choices we have to make.
The role of a leader is to define reality and give hope.
You can’t get the best out of people if your corporate values do not match the way they would live at home.
A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.