"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." --William Arthur Ward
Great leaders inspire others. The current pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on entrepreneurs to lead their businesses in the face of uncertainty and disruptions, and above all, to continue to remain profitable. History has shown us time after time that leaders are not born but made. To keep you pushing forward and inspired during this tumultuous time, we have selected 5 exceptional leaders in business. We hope their leadership attributes can inspire how you decide to navigate the current pandemic and ensuing recovery.
Jack Ma - Stay moral and humble. Apart from proudly calling himself 'crazy Jack', Jack Ma proves how you can become a successful leader through cultivating a positive organizational culture and motivating employees who demonstrate great talents. His approach toward moral leadership, which emphasizes corporate values other than financial returns, is reinforced at every level throughout his organizations. Customer first, trust, integrity, teamwork, embrace change and passion, are the six values that are deeply incorporated within the foundation of Alibaba. In addition, he often happily accepts that he is not the smartest person in the company, and his role as a CEO was to find people smarter than he is and to make sure they can work together. Many a great leader has often said 'surround yourself by those smarter than you' and Jack Ma has done just that!
Richard Branson - Put employees first. The man leading the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, embraces a leadership style that prioritizes the needs of employees, before the wishes of customers and shareholders. He believes that most people want to be heard and praised at work. Branson believes that focusing on these attributes will ensure that everyone works better together over the long term. Therefore, if you take good care of your team, your team will take good care of your clients. One of the most appreciated values among leaders at Virgin is the ability to show a genuine interest and duty of care for their teams. Can you guess who inspired Richard Branson in developing such a leadership style? Read this article on Forbes to find out. Hint: you might want to start listening to your mom more carefully.
Tony Hsieh - Deliver happiness to your employees. As CEO of the e-commerce powerhouse Zappos, Tony Hsieh established a unique company culture, centered around the fact that an employee’s happiness and satisfaction at work is crucial to the growth and sustainability of a business. He strongly believes in adding individuality to an office culture, while empowering his employees to take ownership of their role and the company as a whole. In fact, a Zappos customer service representative holds the record for longest call with a customer, ever! You can imagine that only an employee passionate about their work would dedicate such a long time to one client.
Zappos is known for their company events, such as interactive all-hands meetings, costume parades, and an annual New Year’s Eve bash at the CEO’s home. As a result, employees are excited to come to work and are committed to enhancing the quality of their work. To learn more about Tony Hsieh’s leadership style, and more importantly, some easy ways that you can replicate them leading your team, click here.
Reshma Saujani - Embrace risk and failure. Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, defies traditional gender stereotypes in the IT sector and advocates for STEM education for girls. After taking a huge risk to run for public office and losing, she used this setback to propel her to greater heights! The fact that the failure did not break her gave her the courage to start something new, coding education for girls. Throughout her professional life, Reshma Saujani continues to take risks, to fail, and to stand up to traditional norms and expectations, becoming a stronger person and leader in the process. Get to know more about Reshma Saujani's leadership style in The Founder Of Girls Who Code Wants Women To Lose (& Win).
Daniel Ek - Lead with zero natural charisma. If you think you don’t have what it takes to become a leader or CEO, neither did Daniel Ek. Compared to many of his fellow CEOs, such as Elon Musk and Jack Ma, Daniel Ek is no doubt an introvert and a poor presenter. In fact, he claims that he had zero natural charisma when he became the CEO of Spotify. However, he did not let his socially awkward personality stop him. It took a ton of hard work to learn to revamp his communication style and management philosophy, i.e. how to more clearly and succinctly explain himself, and how to be more transparent about his vulnerabilities and failures, but in the end, he got there. His successful self-transformation demonstrates once again that leadership is learned, and if you are willing to put in effort, you might have more charisma in you than you ever imagined.
Last but not the least, let's watch a TED talk by Lars Sudmann, a leadership advisor and award-winning lecturer. He walks us through the journey of developing yourself into a 'Utopia leader', and shares 3 strategies on self-leadership.
Interested to learn more about leadership? Facing challenges in leading your business in crisis? We got you covered! Episode 3 of Coping with COVID-19 Webinar Series: Leadership Mistakes in Crisis and How to Learn from Them, will feature CEO of David X Martin LLC and cyber risk management expert David X Martin. David is ready to meet you on 19 May, 16:30-17:30 (CET), Save the date and Register now.