Leadership. You can’t avoid it. No entrepreneur can.

That’s because, ultimately, it’s your business.

You’re steering the ship, you’re choosing the course, you’re making the final calls.

And that’s an awesome responsibility.

You’re the ultimate decision-maker, and those decisions can’t help but have a huge impact on not only your success, but the success of the people who work for you.

But most of us are ill-prepared for that kind of leadership role—instead, we get thrown into the deep end and are forced to find our way without much experience in or knowledge about how to effectively lead.

That was certainly the case with me, when I became a college baseball coach at the tender age of 23.

I certainly didn’t know what I was doing at first, so I had to sort out for myself what worked and what didn’t.

I did that by watching how other coaches I admired did their jobs and by reading books by respected leadership experts like John Maxwell.

Most importantly, I learned by doing, every single day on the field.

Over time I absorbed some core principles about leadership that have helped me launch over 25 different business and have served me well. I think will do the same for you.

1. The Golden Rule still works.

Just treat people the way you’d want to be treated.

Think about what motivated you to overdeliver over the years. I’m willing to bet a positive approach, backed up by a genuine interest in your success, gave you the confidence you needed to improve and grow to become the success you are today – and it will do the same for your staff.

2. Get Everybody Rowing Together.

A leader sets the direction for an enterprise. The big problem comes when not everyone involved believes in or works towards that direction.

When you and your people all believe in and work towards the same goals, you’ve got a much greater chance of achieving them—because you’re all “rowing in unison.” And that creates a directed force that outstrips the competition with ease.

A shared vision is a powerful lever for success.

That’s why it’s important for you as a business leader to explain to your people not only what goal you’re trying to reach, but the how and why behind that goal. The more your team understands your approach and the reasons behind it, the more likely they will end up your biggest cheerleaders. When everyone is “rowing” together, you’re going to speed towards your destination.

3. Catch People Doing Something Right.

I think you’ll agree it’s a whole lot more common for bosses to focus their energies on trying to catch their people doing something wrong.

I prefer to catch them doing something right.

As a leader, I know I have to accept this fact: When I hand off a responsibility or give a new role to a trusted employee, they’re probably going to nail 90 to 95% of that assignment. Most of what they do for my business is going to be spot on.

But that other 5 to 10%? They’re going to mess that part up.

Unfortunately, I do see a lot of business owners who insist on shining a spotlight on that 5 or 10% that goes wrong.

They look right past the fact that an employee is doing almost everything right and, instead, obsess on trying to catch their people doing things wrong.

It’s a negative, oppressive outlook and one I’ve been a victim of perpetuating.

I spent many years as a baseball coach not really enjoying a win on the field. Instead, most of the time a victory was just a relief to me.

I finally realized my attitude was not only harmful to me, but also to the rest of the team.

If I can’t fully celebrate a win, then my players are going to see it in my attitude and not be able to enjoy it as much either.

With a little more experience under my belt, however, I finally was able to let go of what the team might have done wrong and embrace what they did right.

And I learned that the only way to reinforce confidence and create a culture of positive teamwork was to highlight our highs, not our lows.

That was a big turning point for me and it can be for you. When the someone succeeds, make sure they feel good about that success.

4. Do As You Say.

Parents are, in a way, the ultimate leaders.

Their kids look up to them to learn how to behave and how to function in the world—it’s a process that begins with birth, so the impact a mom or dad has on that young impressionable mind is extraordinary. In any leadership role, the same dynamic is in place, just on a smaller scale.

If you aren’t leading with integrity, if you aren’t living the values you want your business to express, you can’t blame your people for not doing it either.

Lead by example.

Walk the walk.

Demonstrate the qualities you want your people to display and they’ll pick up on them.

“You’ll be amazed at what a standard you can set for your entire business just by keeping to that standard yourself.”

It’s a great responsibility to lead people, so hopefully these four tips will help you propel those you lead to great heights.

By Pat Rigsby

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