7 Tips for Leadership Success from Top Companies and CEOs

We've compiled a list of some of the top tips for leadership success from some of the top companies and CEOs to help you embrace success, leadership, and a strong culture with employees at all levels. As you and your organization enter a new year and a new decade, you may likely be searching for inspiration from some of the greats.

At A Better Leader, we firmly believe that successful leadership development is crucial to your organization. We have created custom and consistent online leadership training to help you create engaged employees and decrease employee retention. It is always beneficial to learn from those companies and individuals who are strong leaders with thriving organizations. Let's take a look at some leadership tips from some of the greats.

1. Recognize your team's performance and give credit where credit is due.

CEO of PayPal, Dan Schulman, stated, "... Giving credit to others actually attracts more and more people to your team because they want to be a part of that team because they know that it's a team that is going to work together as one team; nobody's going to try to take credit over somebody else. In many ways, leadership is about defining reality and inspiring hope, but if you have these great people around you and they know that what they do is going to be recognized, it can be incredibly powerful."

If you want your team to work as a strong unit, and build a culture where employees are excited to contribute, you must give credit to your team rather than taking it for yourself as the leader. This is one way your organization can become an employer of choice.

2. Develop a great strategy and build a great culture.

Chris Nassetta is the CEO of Hilton, which was named one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2020. In terms of leadership tips of lessons, Mr. Nassetta says that there are two things that "great" leaders should do: "They develop a great strategy and they build a great culture . . . [with both] you really can make yourself pretty bulletproof, and, as a result, have a business that is super resilient."

It cannot be emphasized enough that great companies and influential leaders have a great culture, engaged employees, and focus on a positive atmosphere.

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3. Be passionate, and keep learning.

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, shared some wisdom in regards to leadership. He said, "Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don't learn." 

Of course, as a leader, you should place emphasis on consistent training. We believe it's one guaranteed way to create an influential culture with engaged leaders. There is nothing more important than continually learning and growing alongside employees at every level.

4. Stay courageous. No one is perfect.

We'll leave you with this knowledge from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, one of the top companies of 2020, and for the last several years. Of course, Apple is wildly successful, for many reasons, but here's what he had to say.

"… The most important thing is not, "Do you fall short?" It's, "Do you have the courage to admit that you're wrong? And do you change? Or do you deny reality, stick your head in the sand, and not change?" The most important thing to me as a CEO is the first thing, that we keep the courage. That's the most important thing. Because humans are not going to be flawless or perfect."

Clearly, courage and resilience are two crucial aspects of being a top organization. It's freeing to know that perfection is not required. 

5. Include your employees in your organization's goals.

"People work better when they know what the goal is and why. It is important that people look forward to coming to work in the morning and enjoy working." - Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX

According to the Guardian, Musk believes the "all in it together" work culture is vital to achieving the firm's "staggeringly ambitious agenda." Approaching your organization with the mindset that everyone is working closely to achieve goals together is key to working as a cohesive unit and building a strong bond.

6. Embrace failure. Don't fear it - learn from it.

Self-made billionaire, and CEO of Spanx, Sara Blakely shared her top tips for leadership success. Among them, she shared that failure was an integral part of her childhood and has helped shape her into the leader she is today. Blakely is the youngest self-made female billionaire, so her advice should certainly be taken into consideration. In an interview, she spoke of how her father molded her mindset:

"My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn't have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don't be afraid to fail."

Sara continues to promote this idea within her business organization - she openly shares her mistakes and encourages her employees to do the same in what they call "oops meetings." By being open about failures, and creating a fun environment, employees don't have to be afraid of making a mistake and can feel comfortable to be themselves and do their jobs well. 

Mistakes don't need to be detrimental. They can be tools to help you to become a better leader. Growth often happens as a result of learning from your mistakes. We feel this is one of the most important tips for leadership success for you and your organization.

7. Focus more on the success of others than your own.

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, has been an influential leader for much of his life. He was a trusted, active part of the leadership team with Google for years prior. He believes that you should care more about the success of others, not yourself, to be a trustworthy leader.

 "As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It's less about trying to be successful (yourself) and more about making sure you have good people, and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do. So that's how I've always thought about it."

Providing support to your leaders, and employees at all levels is crucial. A leader that genuinely cares about the successes (and struggles) of their employees will build a team of trusting, loyal team members who are devoted to your organization and believe in your culture.

Bonus: 5 "Unconventional" Tips for Successful Leadership from Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos

  • 1. Don't Follow the Crowd.
  • 2. Understand the "Metrics Culture."
  • 3. Work to Offer the Most Competitive Costs.
  • 4. Don't Let Failure Set You Back.
  • 5. Always Consider the Long Term.

Hopefully, some of these tips for leadership success will inspire you to take action and strive for greatness. If your organization has been searching for a way to find engaged employees, strong culture, and better leaders, we would be happy to provide you with a custom solution. Perhaps you struggle to consistently train leaders who know how to connect with your workforce. A Better Leader believes in becoming an employer of choice with online leadership training that truly works.

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About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is Director of IRI's Digital Workplace Solutions Group, and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.