Leadership is not something some people are born with, and others aren’t. Like any kind of hobby, skill or trait, guidance can be improved and trained. It is as trainable as any type of productivity or positive habit, and it requires persistence and patience in order to develop a great leadership style.
At James River Capital Corporation, they take leadership as one of the most important personality and behavioral traits in a company. Leadership is the act of leading a team and making everyone comfortable in working together towards a similar goal.
James River Capital Corporation has many leaders that have transformed the small firm into the business juggernaut that it is today, and one of those leaders is the prestigious business developer Paul Saunders, who acquired the company from Kidder in 1995.
According to the company, leadership requires a lot of effort from the leader, and it is not about doing less and having more, but it is more about being very disciplined and living as an inspiration to others. Leadership is also about sacrifice, patience and listening as well.
Many young wannabe entrepreneurs don’t understand that leaders sacrifice a lot in order to move their teams and do the undone. Leaders not only lead the way but they also act as the company’s reputation and face, essentially protecting their employees and assuming the responsibility for what the corporation stands for.
James River agrees that leaders shouldn’t worry about “leading” their teams, because that is the natural course of the company when there is a responsible, inspiring person in charge. Instead, people who want to become leaders have to learn to become supporters in every aspect possible. Teams require support from above, and leaders receive followers who are able to fight and work for the company’s vision because they have a supportive leader who encourages them and helps them grow.
Leaders from all types of companies need to learn how to put their employees in what is called a “psychological safety,” because research shows that the majority of any company’s staff withholds critical information from their bosses because of fear.
To improve that scenario, it is essential for leaders to reinforce that they are there to help and give support to their employees. Leaders are like the eyes of the company, who can see the whole picture, and employees are the working cells who do their respective duties.
In order for the whole corporation to function, employees need to be comfortable in giving their honest opinions, and leaders need to understand that ideas are welcome whether they are positive or negative, because they come from perspectives that you, as a leader, might be missing.
In general, leadership is about helping, not necessarily about assuming the highest role in a corporation. Employees will see you as a natural leader once you assume more responsibilities and once you start to show the traits of a true leader.