In the March 2016 Entrepreneur Magazine, there was a great article about 22 Must-Have Leadership Qualities. I found the article to be so powerful that I am spending a few minutes each week thinking about how I can improve these leadership skills myself. Like most things in life, you get what you focus your attention on. Here is #13 – Decisiveness.
“In high school and college, to pick up extra cash I would often referee recreational basketball games. The mentor who taught me how to officiate gave his refs one important piece of advice that translates well into the professional world: ‘Make the call fast, make the call loud and don’t look back.’ In marginal situations, a decisively made wrong call will often lead to better long-term results and a stronger team than a wishy-washy decision that turns out to be right.”
Scott Hoffman, owner, Folio Literary Management
When I began working as an Inbound Marketing and Sales Consultant at LeadG2, I learned a similar lesson my first few weeks on the job. My chief role as an Inbound Marketing and Sales Consultant is to help companies understand how to implement and lay the foundations for a lead generation program so that they can begin to effectively manage it themselves if they choose to.
After my first few calls and meetings with my new clients, I received an email from our Managing Partner asking me if I had a few minutes to talk. During our call, he mentioned that he had spoken with several of my clients about how things were going and that they each gave glowing reviews on my performance. A few even commented on my thorough knowledge of the subject matter and excellent teaching manner. This made me feel really good about my first weeks on the job and it seemed like things were going great. However, before we got off the call my boss paused and said… “There is one more thing I wanted to talk to you about before we get off the phone.” Uh oh… Did I say something inappropriate on a call? I can’t remember anything bad having happened in the past few weeks. My curiosity about what he was about to stay certainly had my mind working overtime. Quite calmly he said, “A few clients mentioned to me that you sometimes give them so many great ideas on things they can do but you don’t seem to stick with one recommendation or a next step.” He continued by saying, “After you discuss several options with a client, just make sure to give them a recommendation and direction on what to do next. After all, that’s what they are paying us for.”
Some might have taken offense to this but I thought it was one of the greatest pieces of advice I had ever been given. Now, when I make a recommendation I say it like I mean it and am much more assertive about how I present my findings. When someone is paying you to make recommendations you need to present your recommendations in a confident and somewhat assertive manner. After all, who believes someone that isn’t sure of themselves? Wishy-washy, flip-flopping leaders are really no leaders at all. If you don’t know what you stand for, you stand for nothing at all.