6 Minute Read

5 Pieces of Leadership Advice You’ll be Happy You Heard

By The Red Branchers

“Leader” has a different connotation to all of us. Some may immediately think of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, while others remember a close relative or teacher. While there are numerous ways to develop your own leadership potential and more than a million amazing leaders out there, these 5 pieces of basic leadership advice ring true in almost every circumstance.

#Leadership advice from @richardbranson, @TimGunn, @SusanWojcicki & more! Click To Tweet

Focus on Your People

“It should go without saying, if you look after your people, your customers and bottom line will be rewarded too.”

-Richard Branson (@richardbranson)

There’s no doubt that Sir Richard Branson is known for his continued focus on people, in and out of the workplace. As a leader, he sees employees as direct connections to success. If your people are unhappy, they are unproductive and uninspired. If they are unhappy and uninspired, they will not make positive connections with customers or clients. You get the picture. Engaged employees get things done and they get them done well.

Learn from the Past

“As mentors, we need to remember what it was like to be mentored. We need to think about all the great—and lousy and so-so—teachers we had and what it was like to be around them and try to be on the side of right.”

-Tim Gunn (@TimGunn)

Tim Gunn spoke about his ultimate mentorship and leadership advice at LinkedIn Talent Connect 2017. This is only one lesson that has influenced his approach to mentoring in the fashion industry, but it is poignant. Leaders should draw from their own experiences, taking note of what their managers, mentors and educators did well and not so well.

Does looking back have you a little uncomfortable. Check out 4 Cringe-worthy Career Moments (And What I Learned) and rest a little easier knowing you aren’t the only one.

Take Time Off

“I think it’s really important to take time off, and I’ve also found that sometimes you get really good insights by taking time off, too.”

-Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki)

No leader would be successful without understanding balance and self-care. In today’s world, there’s a stigma that if you aren’t rushing to get to the next meeting or stressed about a heavy workload, then you aren’t reaching your potential or working hard enough. Unfortunately, it’s this line of thinking that had 54% of Americans end 2016 with unused vacation time. In fact, last year, there were 662 million unused vacation days. While managers have a duty to their people, they cannot sacrifice their responsibility to their mental, emotional and physical health. If you worry about taking time away from your team, take comfort in these statistics:

  • 82% of managers agree vacation alleviates burnout
  • 78% of managers believe it improves focus upon return
  • 70% of managers say it renews commitment to their job

Here are 5 Things Managers Don’t Get to Do. (Notice vacation isn’t on the list.)

Be Decisive

“Leadership is not a job for commitment-phobes, and if you want to last as a leader, you’ll need to learn to make some decisions you won’t be able to reverse.”

-Lindsey Pollak (@lindseypollak)

Being a leader means making tough calls and sometimes being the bad guy. One day that might mean delivering constructive criticism while the next day means exiting a team member. Managing isn’t for the feign of heart. When a tough decision is made, no matter how unpopular, you have to stick by it. Employees need to see the solid foundation and basis of the direction and waning after the fact will leave them questioning or unsure of the future. Of course, this doesn’t mean going down with a burning ship (aka, a mistake). Leaders are human, subject to human error. When you make a bad call, be humble, own up to it and find a solution. It will gain you respect in the end.

Seriously, It’s OK to Fail

“It’s not about money or connections–it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone…And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”

-Mark Cuban (@mcuban)

Speaking of mistakes and humility, great leaders aren’t perfect. They make mistakes, they get called out for poor judgment (sometimes in very public settings) and sometimes it means having to take a few steps back, re-route and try again. However, as Cuban says, failing is all a part of the process. At the end of it all, you might find yourself looking back on the situation as the turning point that steered you into a better direction.

Want to know how to use your failure as a catalyst for something greater? Read Failing Forward: Learning From Failure.

Want more amazing leadership advice? Read these 9 phrases said by amazing leaders according to our very own CEO, Maren Hogan. Of course, you can also subscribe to our email newsletter for weekly updates on leadership advice, marketing trends, the latest HR and recruiting news and so much more!