I’ve worked with a whole lot of different financial firms in my years, including Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch and Alex Brown. Yet when I started Ascendant Capital, it wasn’t like anything I had done at that point. I had taken leadership positions before, but starting a company was something else entirely. When you’re new to being a leader, it’s easy to want to copy some influential leaders, such as Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos. But just because something worked for Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos it doesn’t mean it works for everybody, and you need to cultivate your own style of leadership. I recently came across a blog post that shared six tips for new leaders to cultivate their own leadership style. As somebody who knows what it’s like to be new to leadership, the points of the article struck a chord with me:
Get to know your team members: Take the time to learn about your employees, whether it’s the names of their children, what they do in their spare time or anything in-between. People will be flattered if you take the time to learn about their lives outside of work, and connecting with them personally will endear you to them.
Identify and empower potential leaders: I like to seek out the potential leaders in my company, those with long-term vision with the potential to move the company forward. Nurture people with strong leadership potential and provide them with the proper mentorship to pursue new projects.
Lead authentically: From my experience, it’s never hard to detect a phony. Be honest about your goals and what it is you want.
Delegate: Everybody has a way that they want things done, but being a leader involves ceding control. Giving up control is never easy, but learning how to delegate instead of dictate is a great way to foster a positive and innovative culture within the company.
Foster transparency: Ascendant Capital places a high value on transparency, not only with the customer, but within the company. This will boost collaboration, motivation and appreciation.
Don’t assume (or pretend) you know everything: Socrates once boasted that he knew that he knew nothing. Everybody wants to appear knowledgeable around those who work under them, but you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure if you get hung up on doing everything perfectly from the start.