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Leadership Lessons from Business and Sports Winners

By: Keith Tully


Supervising the actions of employees, planning and organizing company efforts, and keeping track of income and expenditure are just a few of the responsibilities that small business managers are often burdened with on an ongoing basis. In order to cope with such stressors and thrive amidst the hustle and bustle, a successful business leader should be equipped with certain skill sets:

Adept Negotiation and Communication Skills
Negotiating with creditors and clients to satisfy their every demand is a significant aspect of managing any business. For this reason most successful company managers have developed the ability to effectively communicate with their employees, business partners, and other parties to which the business is indebted.
Gilbert Amelio, President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp, once said: “Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
Punctuality and a Sense of Urgency
Although a manager should be able to exercise patience when necessary and stick to a task even when results are coming in slowly, they should also have a strong sense of urgency, as indicated by a tendency to ensure that clients and customers are satisfied in a punctual manner. Should managers stay on schedule or should they strive to get ahead of schedule? Are they setting milestones for employees to reach or are they simply letting employees work at their own pace? The late Jim Rohn—an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker—once said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”
Strong Competitive Drive
One constant that you can expect in almost every business endeavor is that there will certainly be some level of competition that you’ll have to deal with. As such, great company managers develop a strong competitive drive that motivates them to outperform the leaders in their industries. Without this sense of competition it can be easy to fall into a non-productive state of complacency.
In the sporting field over in England, Sir Alex Ferguson—the recently retired Manchester United manager—was the epitome of drive, determination and power. He won 38 trophies to become Britain’s most successful soccer manager of all time—but it was his unwavering spirit and will-to-win that fuelled his triumphant team over a 26-year period in charge.
Ethical Approach
Every proficient business leader should hold ethics high on their list of priorities, regardless of their moral background. Upholding business ethics in every transaction is of the utmost importance because it ensures that the people you’re dealing with will have only good things to say about your company. Every discussion and negotiation, whether on or off the record, will affect how your clients and associates view your company. As the familiar adage goes, “you have to give respect to receive it.”
Published: February 20, 2014

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Keith Tully

Keith Tully has been working in the field of corporate insolvency for more than a decade, during which time he has helped many company managers accomplish their business goals, He's currently partnering with Real Business Rescue, the UK's most extensive independent network of insolvency practitioners.

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