This is the 20th of a series of newsletters published on Business Management and Management Skills. Not all topics will apply to your business, but each section will be beneficial to establish company goals and objectives. By reading and studying these newsletter articles, you’re taking the first step in achieving your goals.

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The ultimate compliment in today’s society is to be considered a leader. We regard leadership as a quality that bestows power, commands respect, and fosters achievement. Leadership skills must be carefully cultivated over a lifetime.

Leadership is defined as the privilege to have the responsibility to direct the actions of others in carrying out purposes of the organization at varying levels of authority, and with accountability for both successful and failed endeavors.

The reality is that leadership is tough, and certainly not a quality that everyone can or should achieve. The demands of leadership are significant, and impact not only the individual leaders but others as well. Leadership entails sacrifice, dedication, focus, hard work, and long hours, and is often lonely. Leadership puts you in a position of becoming a “visible target.” People will often turn against you if your decisions are not to their liking. Other people may agree with you simply by virtue of your position. To be an effective leader, you must develop a thick skin and learn to objectively evaluate not only situations, but also the personalities you encounter on a daily basis.

Employees’ attitudes, loyalty and productivity, are influenced by the manager’s actions. Set an example they can follow with pride in the company and its management, not only with your employees, but also in your public contacts. We live in a dynamic society. Changes are taking place continuously. Be aware of challenges and opportunities. If you stand still, you’ll lose ground to your competitors. Your image is what other people perceive you to be. The reputation and respect that other people have for you make it easier (or more difficult) for you to be an effective and responsible leader. Remember, people like to deal with people they consider their peer, but in whom they have confidence and respect. Image is very important - on the job or off.

Leaders are obligated to provide and maintain momentum and clarity, and focus on the organization’s mission. Momentum comes from a clear vision of what the company desires to be. It requires a well-thought-out strategy to achieve that vision and carefully conceived, formulated, and communicated plans. The plan must foster and enable everyone to participate in, and be accountable for, achieving established goals. To maintain this momentum, leaders must allow others to lead them.

Finally, a leader must learn to recognize the signals of impending deterioration. This is based on the theory that all forms of energy tend to deteriorate into lower levels of intensity. The warning signals include:

Many of the following topics warrant a complete study on their own; however, these basic guidelines will establish a plan of action you should take in order to achieve your true leadership abilities.

Trust is vital.
A leader should be a good teacher and communicator.
A leader should rarely be a problem solver.
A leader must have stamina.
A leader must manage time well and use it effectively.
A leader must have technical competence.
Leaders must not condone incompetence.
Leaders must take care of their people.
Leaders must provide vision.
Leaders must subordinate their ambitions and goals to those of the unit or the institution that they lead.
Leaders must know how to run meetings.
A leader must be a motivator.
Leaders must be visible and approachable.
Leaders should have a sense of humor.
Leaders must be decisive, but patiently decisive.
Leaders should be introspective.
Leaders should be reliable.
Leaders should be open-minded.
Leaders should establish and maintain high standards of dignity.
Leaders should exude integrity.
These topics warrant far greater detail than can be included in this newsletter but review these guidelines carefully. Then investigate thoroughly various aspects of leadership as it applies to your day-to-day business routine.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter article was extracted from Mike Holt’s Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we invite your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. We value your opinions and participation. Please respond to Barbara at And… be sure to visit Mike Holt’s Website at

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