You do not have to be born a natural leader to one day become a great leader. Like any sort of work, if you apply yourself and try to learn from the best, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful with your endeavours.
We looked to some of our favourite CEOs and leaders for their best advice for managing and running a business. Who do you look to for your business advice?
As one of the richest people in the world, people are knocking down Warren Buffett’s door night and day for business advice. And for being one of the richest, his first attribute that leaders should mirror is a bit of a surprise.
Frugality is not necessarily a widespread piece of advice for leaders, but it’s worked for Buffett. Especially now, when many businesses are in recovery mode after the global recession, being able to save money and cut corners (but not quality of service or product) offers the business more opportunities in the future. Other key pieces of advice from Buffett include both being humble and patient.
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Sun Tzu’s The Art of War
The Art of Warby legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu offers some management advice with longevity: it’s thousands of years old. Although it takes a little creativity to see through to the leadership lessons, they are there. Take his notion about the items obtained from one’s enemy – “a cartload of the enemy’s provisions is equivalent to twenty of one’s own” – translated into a business model, it’s well known that getting something cheaply or for free is much more valuable than paying company cash or dipping into savings to buy it.
Other leadership ideas that can be gleaned include the quality of business strategies, the power of people working together, and the problems with pushing a workforce too hard. Read The Art of War because it’s one of the most famous books of all time, but stay for the leadership advice.
Profiled by us in a recent article, Gail Kelly’s most poignant advice is to “dig deep.” But she has also commented on the attributes that modern leaders, and specifically leaders in the banking sector, should have. Kelly named four qualities for the modern leader to possess: a clear vision for your organisation, adaptability to change, generosity and resilience.
"If you have a tough day and you make a mistake or something goes really badly wrong within your control or not, you actually can say, 'You know what? I love what I do and I believe in what I do,' and that gives you the resilience to go on off again,” she said.