What is an Enlightened Leader?
I’ve been writing about them for almost two years now and it’s certainly an intriguing question, one that came up again at our Growth Strategies Breakfast last month.
For those of you who are looking for some illumination along the path of your own growth and development, here are seven characteristics of the Enlightened Leaders with whom we work, as well as their stories.
1. Leverage their strengths and shore up their weaknesses.
They are self-aware and always looking to grow. They proactively seek feedback from their teams, from their advisors and their peers to understand what they’re doing well and where they can be doing better. They work to address concerns about their performance in a proactive manner. Check out Nielsen-Kellerman’s story for a great example of a CEO who’s worked diligently to do just that.
2. Focus on the real top line.
They understand that “Revenue is Vanity” and that the real top line on the P&L is the gross profit of the company. They also know that the secret to growing gross profit is saying No to the wrong opportunities, oftentimes more than saying Yes. They are focused on the long-term sustainability of their business, not just the short-term profits, as Jill Huentelman discovered at Lernia
3. Cultivate relationships by showing gratitude, compassion and kindness.
They take their responsibilities to the community in which they live and work seriously, value discipline and commitment to the greater good. They have learned that good business is all about the strength of their relationships and as Mike Albero shares, they actively work to practice generosity with their teams, their families and themselves.
4. Understand that the buck stops here.
They are fully accountable for their decisions and their actions and take responsibility for their failures and flaws. They don’t make excuses or point fingers but instead address issues proactively, as Traci Bolander has committed to doing at Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health
5. Know the importance of creating a fortress Balance Sheet.
They focus on the long-term game plan, not just reaping short term profits for themselves. They set aside money to have the Core Capital in place to support the company during downturns that will inevitably arrive, as well as protect the livelihoods of the people whom they employee. You can learn more about Bill Emerson’s journey to do just that by clicking here.
6. Value the growth and development of others, just not themselves.
They understand that in order for their business to grow they’ve got to invest in people. Finding and attracting the right Talent as well as onboarding and engaging their employees. At Cenero, Rob Gilfillan, Chris Henry and their team are doing just that.
7. Demonstrate Level 5 leadership.
They recognize the successes of others before they point to themselves. They model vulnerability. They strive to be transparent and candid. Like Albert Busch, they willingly share their perspective and their opinions and ask others to do the same. Check out Datacolor’s story to learn more here.
I hope that these CEO’s and their stories have inspired you, and, that you’ve taken away one or two practical steps you can work on this year to become a more Enlightened Leader too!
Let me know how your journey goes…
Tags: Business advice for the mid-market, Enlightened Leaders, Overcoming small business challenges, Small business advice, Small Business help