What makes a good leader? It’s a question that plagues business owners around the globe. You can find enough literature and think-pieces on this subject to make your head explode.
Everyone can benefit from their own unique management style. Still, there is something to be gained by learning from the best.
Today’s top CEOs are masters in their craft. Through sound leadership, they’ve helped their companies make billions, innovate, and change the world.
Here are some amazing leadership tactics from the world’s best CEOs from Bill Gates to Elon Musk.
1. Do a Few Things Great…And Collaborate The Rest
You don’t have to do it all. The best leaders delegate, even if that means sacrificing some of their control.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had big shoes to fill following the death of Steve Jobs. While he adopted some leadership qualities from his predecessor, he made some big shifts that allowed Apple to smoothly transition between leaders.
Cook famously declared “You can only do so many things great, and you should cast aside everything else.”
Using this mindset, Cook can focus on his own strengths while fostering the brilliance of others. This thinking helped Apple continue to innovate products like the iWatch, as much of this creation process occurred without Cook’s guidance.
2. Act Like You Believe in Yourself
It’s not enough to simply believe in yourself. You have to back up this belief with action. At least, that’s what Tim Cook believes.
Cook put his money where his mouth was when he chose to forfeit up to one third of his stock-based compensation with Apple during a slump. By betting on himself and the company, Cook was risking hundreds of millions of dollars.
You don’t have to make this kind of wager on your company to be successful. But you can be successful by backing up your beliefs with action and leading by example.
3. Experiments Are Key to Innovation
What lessons can you learn from the world’s richest man? Well, quite a few.
Jeff Bezos has catapulted Amazon to the largest company in the U.S. thanks in large part to sound leadership. His advice? Experiment as much as possible.
Bezos famously advocated for experimentation while being interviewed for The Innovator’s DNA. He said: “We’ve tried to reduce the cost of doing experiments so that we can do more of them. If you can increase the number of experiments you try from a hundred to a thousand, you dramatically increase the number of innovations you produce.”
4. Use What You Have to Empower Others
Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is so charitable that his name has become synonymous with philanthropy. Since founding The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has donated over $50 billion to causes all over the world.
This selfless approach to leadership helps to empower others across the globe. Gates once stated,“Philanthropy is not about the money. It’s about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world.”
The lesson? There’s more to leadership than turning a profit.
5. Take Risks…Even When It Means Facing Certain Failure
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a laundry list of accomplishments: he founded SolarCity to combat global warming, he revolutionized electric cars with Tesla, and he created SpaceX in the hopes of getting people to Mars.
You probably know that part. But did you know that Tesla and SpaceX were once on the verge of bankruptcy? Or that he’s crashed as many as five rockets?
Musk has never been afraid to take risks, dating back to his days as founder of Zip2. Rather than enjoy an early island retirement, Musk re-invested his money into the companies you know today. His risks haven’t always paid off, but he wouldn’t be where he is without risking it all on big ideas.
6. Take The Time to Foster Your Employees
Larry Page, former Google CEO and current CEO of Alphabet, has literally changed the way the world works.
But he didn’t do it alone. Page helped bring the world new innovations by utilizing those around him. He’s known to challenge his employees assumptions and ask them, “Why can’t this be bigger?”
Former Googlers rave about Page’s propensity to talk one-on-one with lower level employees. This gave him a greater understanding of not only Google’s new technologies, but also how he could better utilize his team. By taking a genuine interest in his employees and their work, Page could get a fuller picture of the opportunities in front of him.
7. Let Others Succeed
Sundar Pichai had big shoes to fill when he took over as Google CEO in 2015. Pichai was viewed by many as boring: a safe-pick in a tech industry ruled by big egos and personalities. But you don’t reach the top by accident.
Pichai revealed his formula for success on a vista to his alma mater in 2017. He stated: “As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful, 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.”
Organizational success hinges on the success of many, not few. Take a step back and evaluate how you can better serve those around you. Set up a collaborative culture to help you and your company reach their goals.
For more great content on leadership, tune in to my Marketing Speak podcast.