Top 10 leadership lessons learnt

By Erik Nielsen

Erik Nielsen a business leader and entrepreneur, discusses the top 10 leasons he has learnt of the years.

10.  Put your People first. As a Leader, you don’t sell a product, you don’t sell a service, you coach, you nurture, and you reward your People.  If you get that right, good things will happen in your business.

9.  Losing stinks. Create a culture of winning. Embed what it means to win, but most importantly embed what is feels like to win in your organization. Winning is contagious and will spread like wildfire if you stoke the flames correctly.

8. Muskrat! The movie, “Meet the Fockers” has a great scene in which Robert De Niro is told “Muskrat!” by his wife when he goes overboard, ranting at his new son-in-law, Ben Stiller.  However, direct, open, candid, dialog is what creates great teams. Be able to speak openly with your direct reports and if things get too heated, make sure anyone is free to say “Muskrat!” to bring some comedic relief and diffuse the tension. Just never stop the candid, direct, open dialog.  Never let your communication get soft as a Leader.

7. Model the behavior you want to see in your Teams.  As the Leader, you set the tone - so walk the walk. There’s a great story about Larry Bird being a coaching player.  Someone got to practice early to prove that they could beat Larry to the gym in the morning and upon seeing an empty court they looked up and saw Larry running laps, up around the stadium seats above the court..  Larry knew how to model the right behavior of a Leader.



​​​​​​​​​​​​​​6. Teach your leadership Team how to inspire.  Inspiration takes courage. As a Leader it’s assumed that you’ll have the courage.  But when your leadership Team leaves the meeting, will they be courageous enough with the Teams that they lead?  Break down inspiration for them, be direct in what it means, and demand it from your reports.

5. Be humble. No one likes an egotist.

4. Be kind. Your job goes beyond your job. As a Leader, you’re a role model for much more than work. Your impact on your organization goes way beyond what you sell.  Your People are buying or not buying their first home, moving their families or staying put... because of how you lead. So be kind.

3. Seek counsel. Yes you’re a Leader, but you need mentors.  Always stay curious about leadership and always stay “green” in your pursuit of knowledge about leadership. Your Teams and your organization will be the beneficiaries of your curiosity.

2.  Set the bar at world class.  No one wants to just “get by.”  People spend the majority of their day with you at work, and if they’re not changing the world... they’ll leave you and find another Leader to work for who will change the world.

1. Call your mom.  Always put family first and your Teams will find the work / life balance they need to be sustainably happy in their career.

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