If we want to grow our companies, there are leadership traits far more important than ones we might imagine. Things like intelligence, experience, persuasion, decision making, strategy, who we know, systems, developing people, or getting people to do stuff are not the most important.
No, the two leadership traits that matter the most in growth are 1) understanding our customers’ (ever changing) needs, wants, & desires and 2) finding better ways to meet those needs.
Surprising? Probably not when we pause to consider. Of course, we can’t stop here. We need other tools in our leadership toolkit such as building the team, fostering collaboration, financial and operational smarts, and strategic thinking to deliver for our clients. But if we don’t focus knowing and helping our them, we will be building a great company that not enough people buy from.
A good way to start or re-start focusing on our clients is to call them or meet them for coffee. Asking questions like, “What are your goals? What are the obstacles? What have you tried? What would you like to see?” and listening carefully will tell us their needs and the language they use to talk about them.
In your corner,
PS: These top two leadership traits come from a report by McKinsey. It also says that we personally do not have to have these traits but that at least one person on our leadership team must.