20 Leadership Lessons to Learn Sooner Rather Than Later

by finandlife13/09/2014 09:13

1. Apologize Quickly Without Hesitation (Hesi'teisn: ấp úng)

It took many years for me to realize how saying “I’m sorry” can help. For years, I thought leadership meant insulating ('insiulei:t: cách ly) myself from my subordinates (se'bo:dnit: cấp dưới) and hiding any weaknesses. If I made a mistake, I’d pretend (pri'tend: giả vờ) it was just a misunderstanding or someone else’s fault. If you fess up (to admit that you have done  something wrong, although it is not very serious) quickly, people working for you will respect you more and follow directions.

2. Admit When You Don’t Know Every Answer

Not admitting my mistakes came from a sense of superiority (ở vai trên) and pride (sự kiêu hãnh). I thought, I’m the leader so I must be right. I now understand leadership differently. It’s a servant role. And, like anyone in business, you are never going to have all of the answers. Revealing (tỏ ra, tiết lộ) you are human is helpful; good leaders go and find the answers the team needs.

3. Analyze First, Then Act

It takes time to collect information, and there’s a sense in leadership that you need to move quickly. We are paid to respond and act, not to sit back and wait for someone else to solve problems. Yet, I made the mistake of acting before analyzing. In a few cases, I even approved projects, new hires, and direction before getting 100% of the data.

4. Train Others Only When You Really Know the Topic

I’m trained as a writer and designer, so it was easy to pass on this knowledge to my team. At times, I’d try to train them in other areas, like testing for bugs in a software program or in HR issues. I should have found an expert to do the training.

5. Be Quick With Positive Feedback, Slow With Criticism

It sounds corny (xưa như trái đất), and maybe you can overdo this one, but I honestly believe many employees in young companies need constant encouragement. We live in complex, competitive times and people are inundated (trần ngập) with too many tasks and not enough time. Technology and business life can be overwhelming. So it’s important to point out any “wins” no matter how small. And, if you do have to criticize ('kritisaiz: phê bình, chỉ trích), think seriously about the impact first.

6. Ask Personal Questions

One of my greatest challenges as a leader had to do with my introverted (intro've:tid: nội tâm) personality. I didn’t share enough about myself, my family life, and my aspirations for the team. (I’ve since realized how being hyper-focused and analytical by nature also helped me get promoted and were probably my greatest strengths.) I wish I had tried to understand my team’s personal motivations more and relate on a personal level.

7. Embrace (im'breis: bao quát) Failure on Projects

Here’s an interesting one. During my tenure (thời gian đương chức) as an upper-level manager, I tended to avoid failure at all costs. Early on, I started a company on my own that went belly up. So, in the corporate world, I shunned any trace (vết tích) of failure—even if it meant letting projects go on too long. I was right about having an attitude of success, but wrong about the micro-failures. Good managers pull the plug at precisely the right time to free up staff for better things.

8. Hire for Potential

I wish I had studied resumes more looking for clues (manh mối) about potential and not as much on their narrow skill set as listed on a sheet of paper. I should have looked for things like an interest in hang-gliding or animal rescue as a sign that the person was ambitious and daring (táo bạo). I should have questioned the overly detailed resume that listed everything about previous work assignments but nothing about risk-taking or aspirations (khát vọng) for growth.

9. Fire for Negligence ('ne...: tính cẩu thả)

I wasn’t too bad at firing people when they were negligent, and I mostly handled them well. In most cases, I went through all the proper (proper: thích hợp, thích đáng) steps to build consensus first with HR, create a paper trail to show how I had tried to work through the issues with the employee, and address problems head-on. Yet, I can recall a few instances when I should have moved even faster on the dismissal. Why? Because those troublemakers were bringing down the team as a whole. As a leader, I should have protected my employees more.

10. Mentor Intentionally

I had great success with mentoring (cố vấn). During my time as a corporate leader, I met with my direct reports one-on-one on a regular basis, gave specific feedback about their work performance, and just got to know them better. I should have been even more intentional (cố ý) about it. It’s not about how often we met but how much I delved into (đào sâu) work issues.

11. Share Good Ideas Quickly and Often

Ideas came to me in a flash, but sometimes I’d held them back. Why? I’m not sure. In meetings, I stayed silent at times because I didn’t want to overshadow (làm lu mờ) anyone else on the team. Most of those good ideas were lost in a vapor ('vei:be: hơi nước) cloud. More importantly, they could have spurred (khích lệ) others on and fostered (nuôi dưỡng) a better dialoge.

12. Promote Slowly

Here’s one that proved to be a major detriment ('detriment: tổn hại). If I could go back, I’d promote people a little slower because there were times when the person was not ready. By waiting, I could have mentored them more and trained them on how to handle the added responsibility.

13. Don’t Just Communicate, Facilitate (tạo điều kiện)

At the time, I convinced myself I had to communicate more with my team leads about “best practices” and “company direction” but the truth is—I should have demonstrated (giải thích) the ideas instead. I should have helped them reach goals and paved the way (lát đường) for them by my example. It’s the difference between just giving information versus nurturing (foster) growth.

14. Reward Creativity, Not Mindless Task Completion

There were times when I rewarded employees monetarily or with recognition when they finished a task on a project. That’s always expected in the workplace. Yet, by rewarding task completion, I was making a subtle suggestion that I expected employees not to finish things on time. Instead, I should have rewarded them for finding workarounds, for thinking creatively, for finishing early, and for working out of the box.

15. Let Organizational Change Create Opportunities

I used to fight organizational changes with every ounce of my fiber. (Those who know me would agree—there are a lot of ounces when you’re over six feet tall.) I viewed an org chart as my enemy (địch thủ). What I didn’t realize is that org chart changes create opportunities for leaders. We can adapt and grow once we know how things are changing. We get a clearer picture of what the company is trying to do. It’s a cheat sheet for better leadership.

16. Nurture Allies ('aeli: bạn đồng minh) at Work Intentionally

Leadership is often seen as a solo effort. It’s not. The best leaders have friends and allies at work who provide counsel and advice. I needed more of them. I do remember having a few co-workers who tried to give me advice, but I had the mindset of a lone wolf leader and tuned it out. If anything, it’s critical to look for this feedback as a development step.

17. Revel ('revl: liên hoan) in Success

I have learned over the years that a big success on a team is something to cherish and relish when it happens. When my team scored a big project, we should have celebrated with banana splits and trumpet parades all around the office. By not reveling as much, it probably zapped the motivation to push harder on the next project.

18. Focus on the Goals, Not the Budget

Late in my corporate career, I spent countless hours tweaking budgets and moving numbers around in a spreadsheet. Fun times! Because of my attitude about spending money, I viewed the value of an employee in monetary terms. If I did it all over again, I’d view employees first and only as individuals with creative ideas that add value.

19. Address the Hardest Leadership Challenges First

There’s a tendency in any job to do the easiest tasks first. Duh! They are the easiest! It’s always nice to look like we’re getting more done each week and clearing up our time for the harder challenges in the workplace. In leadership, that’s a big mistake. That troublemaker on your team? The drop in sales after a marketing snafu (sne'fu: hoan man, hỗn độn)? A big tax change? Address those problems first to free up your time to lead better the rest of the week.

20. Start Your Meetings by Sharing Something Personal

It’s okay to get personal—just not too personal. There’s no need to explain how the dog is sick or how your car is on the fritz. That’s not what I mean. In a meeting, it’s okay to quickly share a few personal tidbits about your kids or a recent vacation. Don’t just jump right into the budget report or the customer wins. Let your employees know more about you and you exist as a person outside of work. They will know you are human.


Nguồn: themuse.com




I am currently serving as an Investment Manager at Vietcap Securities JSC, leveraging 16 years of experience in investment analysis. My journey began as a junior analyst at a fund in 2007, allowing me to cultivate a profound understanding of Vietnam's macroeconomics, conduct meticulous equity research, and actively pursue lucrative investment opportunities. Furthermore, I hold the position of Head of Derivatives, equipped with extensive knowledge and expertise in derivatives, ETFs, and CWs.


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