Seven secrets to success as a leader

“Leadership freak” and industry blogger Dan Rockwell offers his seven secrets to better leadership.                        

Adapted from an article by Nicola Middlemiss in our sister title HC Online.

With 35 years’ experience in public speaking and 15 years’ experience as a leadership consultant, Dan Rockwell has a wealth of insider information and regularly blogs about the industry. Here, he offers his seven secrets to success.

1. Offer solutions, but always begin with problems.

“Every time you say, ‘It’s not that bad,’ you minimise the value of any solutions you find,” says Rockwell. “Never minimise the pain and frustration of others, even when it seems small to you.”

2. Forget perfection

“Don’t talk yourself out of imperfect solutions unless you have better ones,” warns Rockwell. Taking action and improving the situation is better than doing nothing and letting it stagnate. According to Rockwell, it’s better to talk yourself into action, rather than out of action.

He urges leaders to consider these three questions before they talk themselves out of taking action: Will it help? Will it harm? What happens if we do nothing?

3. Learn while you take action

“Don’t talk about it unless you plan to do something about it,” says Rockwell. “Welcome those who point out problems. They aren’t the enemy. The enemy is talk without action.”

4. Focus on getting people in the right roles

“Successful leaders understand and leverage the talents, skills, and drives of team members,” says Rockwell. He suggests providing leadership and personality assessments to gain a great understanding of what motivates your employees and find out what they’re really good at.

5. Build energising environments

Or, in other words, be positive. “The most important thing about is the way we treat each other while we do the work,” says Rockwell. “Spend more time affirming than correcting.”

6. Embrace forward facing contrarians

“Conformists don’t build the future,” says Rockwell – forward facing contrarians do. “Protect them from the frustrations of others, as much as possible.”

7. Results don’t define you

According to Rockwell, “The path to great results is more important than results themselves. Honour behaviours that get you there.”

You may also find interesting:

The nine traits behind bad decisions

Take the Top 100 CEO quiz

The seven types of followers