When we think of great leaders, many of the first people who come to mind are our clients. They’re led by innovative, driven and thoughtful leaders with a thing or two to teach about how to pilot a company to success.
Here are five best practices for today’s leaders to follow:
Embody company values.
Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon, believes in the importance of sticking to core company values. Crimson Hexagon’s values are short and simple: be professional, be humble and be human. Stephanie stresses that limiting your company to three specific and actionable statements is the best way for your team to remember and live its values.
Emphasize a culture of achievement.
Making sure to get to know each and every candidate and personally screen every single employee of the company is one sure-fire way to personalize your hiring process. Laz Vekiarides, the CTO and co-founder at ClearSky Data, does exactly this. He believes every employee plays a key role in the success of his company, and makes this clear to prospective employees from the second they walk through the door for the interview. This personalized experience helps to shape the culture at ClearSky Data, something about which Laz is passionate. Recruiting for a startup shouldn’t just focus on quirky perks or generous benefits. Instead, promote and create a culture of achievement among the team.
Place high value on writing skills.
The CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried, focuses on candidates’ cover letters to judge their writing skills. Employees must be great writers to work at Basecamp, where most communication is written due to the company’s remote work culture. In fact, the entire hiring process at Basecamp involves a lot of writing. Jason pays candidates to do a project for his team and asks them to write up their thoughts as an additional way to evaluate the writing skills of prospective employees.
When you absolutely have to, let people go.
When’s the perfect time to deliver bad news to employees? The general feeling is never, particularly if you are letting them go. However, telling them as soon as possible is crucial. When delivering the news, focus on the big picture aspect of the business instead of the professional shortcomings of the employee. Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Company, recommends listening to your employee and giving them the opportunity to respond instead of focusing on communicating your side. This shows respect for the employee and makes parting ways easier on everyone.
Eighty-two percent of public company board seats are held by men, and this number is significantly lower for private companies. These board members are responsible for advocating for the company. Coco Brown, CEO of Athena Alliance, urges companies to embrace boardroom diversity by inviting highly qualified women and people of color to the board table.
Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur or just starting out in your career, it’s important to take the time and listen to others’ feedback. Then, take a step back and reflect on what it means to be a great leader and create your plan.
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