Five ways to be a better leader this year

Christine D'Mello

Gone are the days, says education entrepreneur Jack Delosa, when we could count on people obediently following directions out of a sense of discipline.

“Discipline is something that leaders and managers could previously rely on,” says Delosa, founder of The Entourage.

“However, today it's simply not enough to move people to perform well. People need more than discipline today. They need purpose.”

Delosa, who is currently writing a book on leaders called Unwritten, says, “I have spent my life studying who I would call the greats of history. People who have changed the course of history forever. Whether it’s people like Michelangelo, or Nelson Mandela or Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson.

“How did they touch the hearts and minds of other people to the degree that they did? How did they become the leaders that they were?”

Delosa lists five ways to be a better leader this year.

Have a compelling vision

An organisation and everybody in it needs to be fully aware of the ultimate purpose of the work that it is doing, says Delosa. “So in vision we need to find an ultimate contribution-centric purpose. When I say contribution-centric, I mean focused on other people.”

Delosa urges keeping your focus on your consumers, your industry, your community, country or the world at large, the environment or the planet. “It’s focused on the ultimate contribution we want to make.”

Values capture and articulate the essence of an organisation, and help direct behaviours and decision making.

Have a clear mission

“Our mission is the ultimate objective, the ultimate thing that we want to become. So while the vision is contribution-centric, the mission is company or self-centric.” It's the ultimate goal that you're trying to achieve, he says.

“So with The Entourage, for instance, we are the largest education institution for entrepreneurs in Australia. Our vision, contribution-centric, is to push civilisation forward through better education. Whereas our mission, our company’s own set of goals, is to be a world No.1 education institution for entrepreneurs.”

When people have a combination of both a higher purpose – that is, vision – and a concrete goal and objective of who they are aiming to become in the future, it helps colour the work that they do with meaning, he says.

Develop and articulate strong values

Values are the principles that govern and guide who we are and who we must be along the journey, says Delosa.

“So the values capture and articulate the essence of an organisation, and help direct behaviours and decision making.”

Be the embodiment of your vision, mission and values

People need leaders who lead by example, says Delosa. “They need to be able to look to somebody who can act as a beacon, if you like, as to how to behave, how to perform, how to think, how to talk.

“In every organisation there’s written rules and there’s unwritten rules. The mistake a lot of entrepreneurs of SMEs make is that they think that the written rules govern the organisation.

“In my view, they don’t. It is the unwritten rules that govern any organisation. And so people are constantly looking to you for leadership and to what are the unwritten rules of this organisation ... how do I behave and how do I succeed within it.”

Learn to listen

Many people probably have great ideas and future success could depend on their current challenges, says Delosa.

“And listening to their challenges, listening to their grievances, listening to their ideas, listening to their hopes and dreams enables you to build things today that will be great tomorrow.”

Christine D'Mello

Christine D'Mello is a freelance journalist who writes for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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Image: Sir Richard Branson at the British Polo Day Morocco Gala Dinner at Dar Soukkar. Credit Keoma Yac (10)Flickr Creative Commonc license

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