Maximum Leadership & Management: 13 Keys to Business Success

Brad Wolff | PEOPLEMAX

The Unique Importance of Leadership Skills

Leadership and management are very different skills. Each is vital to the success of your firm. Few people are skilled and comfortable in every aspect of leadership and management. The key is to be self-aware and self-honest so that you fill the gaps through:

  • Your own development where you are less skilled. This is where advisors and coaches can be critical; and
  • Delegating to other employees who complement you.

Ignoring any of your leadership and management deficits will cost you money, stress, and satisfaction since their impact will continue.

Leadership is ultimately about impact and influence on people—both yourself and others. It answers the question, “Where are we going, and why?” Leadership functions include purpose and vision. And, most importantly, modeling the behaviors you want to see in others. For example, if you want people to follow through on their commitments, you need to do the same. If you want people to listen, you need to listen.

Leadership Skills Checklist

Engage and inspire. Do you have a clearly articulated purpose and vision that’s regularly communicated? This allows you and your team to know where you’re going and why. This is critical to engage people to produce superior results and positively impact others.

Learning mindset: How often do you seek to understand and learn rather than assuming you know it all? Nobody can ever know it all, and you want others to practice of habit of learning and understanding instead of arrogance.

Acknowledge mistakes: Do you regularly admit to your mistakes with people who are impacted? It’s essential to take ownership and apologize for actions that harm others. Then take corrective action to make it right. This builds trust and respect and encourages others to do the same.

Accountability: How consistently do you hold yourself (It starts with you) and others accountable to agreed-upon actions and results? Accountability is more about ownership than consequences. People learn, grow, and thrive when they take ownership and are harmed when they don’t.

Set the example: How consistently do you do what you tell others to do? The most effective leaders “walk the talk.” People often ignore what they hear but never ignore what they see. Leading by example, allows you to build credibility, trust, and respect in yourself. Others follow the level you have in yourself.

Openness and authenticity: How willing are you to openly share your thoughts and feelings with people you trust? This increases self-awareness and opens the door to growth and development. When you model openness and authenticity, you imbed it into your culture so that others feel safe to do the same.

Emotional regulation: How consistently do you calm yourself when emotionally triggered (either upset or overly enthusiastic) before making decisions and taking action. This is a crucial element of “emotional intelligence.” Strong emotions cloud rational thinking and can lead to impulsive acts that you later regret.

The Unique Importance of Management Skills

Management is about things rather than people. The word “manage” means to take charge or control. Since people ultimately have free will, you don’t control them; you influence them, which is leadership. Management refers to goals and strategies and the systems, processes, and technologies to achieve them. It answers the questions, “What will we do?” and “How will we do it?”

The best managers know that “the devil is in the details!” The most successful firms choose to address their problem areas. Otherwise, these issues will derail their effectiveness.

Management Skills Checklist

Goals and strategies: How well is your purpose and vision translated into clear strategies and goals? Purpose and vision need to be made tangible, or they won’t be executed.

Metrics: Do you have the appropriate metrics to track the activities and results that matter most for your firm’s success? Measurement leads to greater awareness, ownership, and action.

Constant improvements: How often do you adjust systems, processes, and technologies to improve them and to address gaps between actual and desired activities and results? This management step is critical to meet goals and to keep a competitive edge.

Consistent actions: How effectively are your goals and strategies converted into quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily actions that occur in a logical order? People need to have clarity on the most important tasks that need to be accomplished today to be productive.

Results tracking: Do you compare actual activities and results to planned activities and results regularly? This provides objective data to identify what’s working and not working quickly. The data allows you to make appropriate adjustments to strategies, goals and activities.

Communications: When do you communicate the above information to your people? Continuous and accurate information allows people to learn, share ideas and concerns, and take ownership of their jobs.

Brad Wolff specializes in leadership development to increase productivity, profitability and engagement. Twentyfive years in recruiting and retention taught him how leaders’ actions impact results with their people. Wolff’s passion is making the science of human potential simple and practical to achieve greater success with less stress and more satisfaction. He’s a speaker and author of “People Problems? How to Create People Solutions for a Competitive Advantage.” For more information please visit: or email him at [email protected].