If you were part of a large organization with a formal leadership development program, you would receive training on the principles that would empower your stewardship of the company’s future.
But as a service professional, you mostly have to figure it out for yourself. These four concepts will help you do just that:
- Plan for the future – When your job is to be responsive to a group of demanding clientele, this can be one of the most difficult leadership principles to apply. And yet, the growth of your practice largely depends on your ability to get out of the weeds and focus your attention beyond the emergency du jour. Write down the specific, measurable goals you intend to achieve over the next 1, 3, and 5 years. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll get around to this when things “calm down.” They probably won’t. And revisit your goals every six months or so in case you’ve set your sights on a moving target.
- Think strategically– Now that you have goals, you can devise a plan that outlines the smartest way to achieve them. This will probably go far beyond “let your good work speak for itself.” Remember, your competitors do good work too. Your strategy may involve a specific niche, authorship, public speaking, associating yourself with industry leaders, some combination of these, or something else entirely.
- Mentor those with high potential– Whether they report to you directly or not, it’s important to identify the next generation of leaders and nurture their advancement. They will bolster your team and strengthen your network. And in today’s environment, they may very well become your partner or client by this time next year.
- Take full responsibility- Remember, it’s your practice. So take ownership of the experience you create for your clients and referral sources. Make sure it is consistent with your values. If you expect responsiveness and reciprocity from others, establish policies that ensure your own endeavors in that regard.
Whether you view leadership as self-discipline or as the rallying of many, it requires a conscious approach. While these four are hardly an exhaustive list of best practices in leadership, they will bring you four steps closer to the better business you are working to build.
Authored by David Ackert