What Defines an Industry Leader?
If you set only one goal for the new year, make it your goal to become a leader in your industry. That doesn’t mean becoming the biggest company on the block. It means opening yourself up to a fresh way of thinking. Developing the skills that propel you to business leadership is key to securing your company’s future.
How to Recognize an Industry Leader
The Cambridge Dictionary defines an industry leader as a business that’s “considered the most effective in its industry, for example, because it sells more products, makes more profit, or has a better-known brand than its competitors.”
How well do you fit that profile? Are you standing out in your industry for your success or your brand? If you’re not, spend some time reflecting on the qualities of an outstanding leader. How many of these qualities can you develop?
You can learn essential management lessons from outstanding leaders. Most of them have the following five qualities.
- They are skilled listeners. Leaders value input from all sources, and they listen to everyone.
- You can count on them. A leader is a trusted advisor who will have your back and give you their full support.
- They keep it simple. A true leader can cut to the core of an issue and make it easy to grasp.
- Leaders don’t make excuses. They accept faults and focus on the future.
- They start early in the morning. Merely changing your schedule can have a significant impact on your success.
If you follow the careers of well-known industry executives, successful coaches, inspiring preachers, and others who excel, you’ll see they consistently show these characteristics.
Business Leadership Requires the Right Mindset
Your mindset is one of the most essential leadership qualities to hone. After all, your mindset determines the vision you bring to any organization.
In an article for Inc., Marcel Schwantes writes that “Leaders need to work first on themselves and become the change. Then leaders must create the cultural conditions that encourage others to do the same. We don’t change others; we change ourselves.”
Ryan Gottfredson and Chris Reina have studied successful business leaders. In an article for Harvard Business Review, they summarized their research. They concluded that “Mindsets are leaders’ mental lenses that dictate what information they take in and use to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. Mindsets drive what leaders do and why.”
To Be a Great Leader, You Need the Right Mindset
What are the specific mindsets these leaders cultivate? Well, the following are the primary ones.
- Growth mindset: People with this mindset believe their employees can learn new skills and new talents.
- Learning and performance mindset: A person with this mindset always seeks to master new skills and increase personal competence.
- Deliberative mindset: If you have this mindset, you are good at absorbing information and changing a company’s direction.
- Promotion mindset: Leaders with promotion mindsets encourage themselves and others to achieve goals.
Real-Life Examples of Business Leadership
You can see these mindsets in action if you follow the careers of successful industry leaders.
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, once said, “If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we’re going to have better business success.” Barra’s growth mindset allowed GM to become one of the top automakers in the country.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has stated, “The one thing that I would say that defines me is I love to learn.” In his book about stepping in to run the software giant, Nadella described how he used a performance mindset to revamp the company’s leadership style. Since he took over in 2014, Microsoft has become even more profitable.
I Can Help You Become an Industry Leader
It’s never too late to foster leadership qualities in yourself. At the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, I’ve used Rosenbluth Travel as a case study. This small, family-owned company had used a top-down management style for decades. After some initial resistance, they shifted to an employee-focused leadership style. Today, the company is a market leader and the top independent agency in the travel industry.
Are you interested in developing your leadership qualities? You can become an industry leader by developing the mindset of a leader. If you need help with any aspect of successful entrepreneurship, contact me at the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute.