What’s Holding You Back From Becoming a Better Leader?

Leadership, in its simplest form, can be reduced to the practice of understanding and implementing the basic skills: conflict resolution, effective communication, and motivation.  Independent of style, all leaders have a profound understanding of these three basic fundamentals.  Leaders couple these basic skills with specific attributes – beliefs, values, ethics, character, and knowledge.  A title of CFO/Controller, Director, or Manager goes not make you a leader; rather, it gives you the responsibility and authority to initiate certain goals within your company.  An important idea to keep in mind: Authority does not make you a leader – it merely makes you the boss. 

The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the successes of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former.” ~Alfred Armand Montapert

 However, leaders can become blinded by small details – obstacles, if you will – in day-to-day activities. While leaders must occasionally analyze the finer points of a situation in order to make informed and confident decisions, they must not allow details to become distractions. The ability to work through and/or around distractions in order to develop timely, appropriate solutions is one of the greatest challenges leaders face every day.

 “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.” ~ General Colin Powell 

Simplicity is the common denominator found in exceptional leaders. The ability to dissect problematic situations is not easily acquired, but it’s a trait leaders must learn in order to be effective.  The best way to accomplish this is through “thoughtful reduction” – removing those ancillary or peripheral pieces of information that can muddle the view of the real problem at hand. Great leaders “sharpen the saw” through a continuous process of self-study, self-awareness, education, training, and experience.

 “You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ~ Edwin Louis Cole

We, as leaders, cannot permit our companies to become stagnant or our personnel to become complacent. Don’t waste a single minute – begin bettering yourself and your team today. Remember, a healthy competitive nature is a good thing – it makes us stronger leaders!  As a professional, this can be achieved, in part, by earning a designation, such as the CCIFP designation, which exhibits your willingness to develop your personal and professional skills, while raising the bar for yourself, your company, and your staff.

We must lead by example – specifically, we must exhibit those traits we want others to display. Let your employees see that you are willing to benchmark yourself against your peers in the same manner in which you benchmark their performance.  Too often, we’re the ones who ask others to change, while sometimes appearing reluctant to do the same.  Demonstrate that you desire to be at the summit of your profession – a goal that others in similar positions strive to attain. Lead by example and others will be certain to follow.

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