A CEO checklist – What leadership is - MyStartupLand

Leadership has been discussed many times. As well as the idea whether it can be trained or not. Having worked with many C-executives, I stick to the opinion that leadership comes from the inside, although a proper training will never hurt. But training is more like polishing a diamond, rather than creating it.

Here below, 4 dimensions on which I believe leadership relies on. 

What Is Leadership And What Does It Depend On?

Any job title. You can be a leader at any position if you take responsibility for what you are doing and contribute to the company, not to yourself, at all directions that you see possible. Progress comes with the answers to the simple question – what can be done better? Once you start taking responsibility beyond your current role, rest assured – you will be noticed.  Leadership is shining through any person who internally has it and honestly lives it.

… Integrity. Always check your assumptions upon which you are basing your decisions. Are you acting out of your center or shrinking yourself because of fear? Do you truly respect people around you or just trying to get something for yourself? Focus on long-term results and not on short-term gains. Short-term gains are usually turning into losses later on.  And remember – people around are monitoring you, although subconsciously sometimes. Respect is something which is earned, not imposed on.

… Leadership style. If you are wondering what leadership style to develop, remember, be fair and honest.  You can retain good relationship with people, without sounding too familiar or being great buddies with them. Otherwise, you can fall a victim of personal attitude which can prevent you from judging objectively and taking right decisions. This is why it is so difficult to work with your closest friends.

… Professional look. Some people think if they look professional they are professional. But the truth is – an expert will always see the difference between seeming and being. All these attributes of corporate world, like expensive suit and fancy graphs are a great complement to the package, but not a substitute for it. Never judge a book by its cover and never think that cover is enough, because somebody may be curious to read a book. Work at your substance thoroughly, as real leaders do.

The conclusion is as simple as all life wisdom – act out of your integrity, do not allow others to decide for you, be always honest and do not subordinate just because someone is more powerful than you are at the moment. This someone might be wrong – so question him and stand for yourself. And the crucial benefit of being your authentic self is that you do not have to think of how you come across – it will be just right.

True leadership is hard because you will be always encountering people who will try to let you down to their own level instead of trying to reach yours. This is nice and easy for them, it seems cozy and comfortable, like a grandma’s sweater on the attic, full of holes and dust. But this is a dangerous path, a road to self-destruction, and contributes to the deterioration of the whole world.

Be honest and faithful with yourself, stick to your best guts and breakthroughs, never allowing anyone to intoxicate you with an unreasonable doubt about yourself.

I am blessed in my life to know great and humble leaders, from whom I can learn and become a leader at some point. I listen to them and become better.

Do you think that leadership depends on other factors? Have you met in your life some true leaders who have inspired you to grow as a better professional?

Holding an MBA degree from London Business School, Ekaterina Zorina possesses an extensive experience of working with and consulting startups in Berlin, London and Moscow. In spare time she is writing articles about business issues and doing script writing.


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