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10 Important Pieces Of Leadership Advice That Will Always Be Relevant

Being a leader is more than running meetings and managing a team. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master, and there will always be room to grow as a mentor, coach and source of inspiration to your employees.

In your quest to become a better leader, you’re bound to hear about countless fads and trendy tips for “modern” managers. However, there are some pieces of business advice that will never get old. Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members shared a few of the timeless leadership tips that have been important to them throughout their careers and why.

1. You Cannot Pour From An Empty Cup

As leaders, it’s so important to be healthy in mind, body and spirit so that we can be our best selves and show up as great leaders for our teams. I find it essential to work out, meditate and journal so I can focus on the right things and support my team the best I can. – Michael Barnhill, Specialist ID

2. Always Confirm That Your Clients Want What You’re Building

I’m constantly reminding myself and my team to make sure we have confirmed that what we are building next is what our clients have told us they want. The temptation to slide into, “If we build it, they will come” is something we face every day in big and small ways. Validating that multiple clients have told us they need a new feature or piece of content is like flexing an organizational muscle—you need to build up the habit through repetition. I believe this is always true for us because we are frequently excited by a new idea and if we simply pursue it without confirming our clients actually want it, we will spend a lot of time and money on a bridge to nowhere. We don’t just lose that time and money, we also lose the opportunity to have produced other, more valuable things. – Rob ToomeyType Coach, LLC

3. View Your Role And Business As ‘Under Construction’

One piece of advice I’ve heard and find to be more applicable than ever is to always view your business and role as “under construction.” This means that you are constantly tearing down and building up parts of your business and yourself. I truly believe this mindset helps you stay conscious that leadership is not something you can coast on. There are new challenges, new teams, new people, new circumstances we all have to deal with and assuming you’ve covered it all is impractical. Rather, view things from the mindset of what needs to be torn down today (what isn’t working) and what needs to be built (what new thing needs to be done) and you’ll evolve with the times and the people you lead. It also keeps you humble! – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Your Network Is Your Net Worth

I first heard these words of wisdom when I was in college, and they were as accurate then as they are today. Virtually every day, I can come up with a new example of how having a robust network has positively impacted one of my businesses, whether directly or indirectly. The people you know are your gateway to success, to knowledge, to commerce and to more great people. – Adam MendlerThe Veloz Group

5. Commit, Don’t Comply

One of my mentors mentioned this early in my entrepreneurial career, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It refers to making a full, heartfelt commitment to whatever you’re doing, rather than merely going along with the motions or following the rules to get to a desired end point. It’s a piece of advice I keep in mind in my day-to-day, but also when I’m hiring. I don’t bring new employees on the team if they’re interested in merely complying or putting their time in before leaving for someplace else. Instead, I look for a true commitment to the company’s mission and the values for which we stand. This way, we can build long-lasting partnerships rather than fleeting hires that turn over every year or two. – Amine Rahal, IronMonk Solutions

6. Invest In Yourself And Your People

You have to do the inner work in order to show up at your best for both yourself and your people. Invest in your learning, personal development and skill set. There is always room for growth, and you have to make growth a priority as a leader and as a business owner if you want to succeed. Also, invest in your people because they are your greatest asset! – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

7. Focus On Doing The Work Only You Can Do

As a startup entrepreneur, you roll up your sleeves and do whatever needs doing. Today, there’s still no task that’s beneath me. But if I’m trying to be the most effective in my role on a day-to-day basis, I focus on the work that only I can deliver. I’ve learned that this form of discipline is necessary for the organization to excel. – Carrie Rich, The Global Good Fund

8. Remember To Reflect On Your Journey

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to keep a journal. Growing a business is an adventure, and it’s crucial to know the importance of your story. Keeping a journal helps me problem solve, express myself, focus on my goals, shape my growth and be creative. As my business continues to grow, I use my journal to shape its trajectory and success by asking myself these questions: What was my aim? How did my expectations compare to reality? How did it make me feel? What did I learn? What am I grateful for? How far have I come? As entrepreneurs, we can learn so much through reflection. Not only can it reduce stress, it can also creatively power the mission and bottom line of your company – Shu Saito, All Filters

9. Your People Are The Most Important Part Of Your Business

This is true because it’s applicable to so many different parts of running a business. Hiring the best team, for example, is one of the hardest and most time-consuming things you can do. Do it well, and you’ll have amazing results. Do it wrong, and you’ll have major issues. Building a good company culture is about the people too. It’s really important that people get work done well together and share values, and that’s also about people. Every part of the business comes down to the people. That’s why this advice never gets old. – Cody CandeeBounce

10. Treat Your Customers Well

In our work, we’ve sometimes had to offer full refunds to customers even though we weren’t obligated to. In the end, it worked out well because they were so happy that they recommended many other people to work with us. This has been a lesson that I’ve strongly remembered. It’s important to look after your customers and to go the extra mile for them. This has been said before, but there’s truth to that which surfaces only in time. Goodwill and a positive brand image are difficult things to build, but easy to break. Be helpful and polite and that will take you a long way. – Blair WilliamsMemberPress

 

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