The Journey to High-Performing Leadership

Leadership is often perceived as an innate quality and something that people are born with.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Natural born leader” many times in the business world.

Leadership is not a genetic trait. It’s a skill that can be cultivated and learned through hard work, dedication and experience.

I’m living proof of that. When I started my business career over 12 years ago, I had no clue how to lead others. Much less, how to lead myself.

But through mentorship, experience and my own personal development, I’ve become a great leader myself and helped build other great leaders.

Let’s explore the 3 Levels of Leadership and identify how business owners and entrepreneurs can reach the pinnacle of leadership excellence.

Level 1: Self-Leadership

The foundational building block of leadership is self-leadership. Before you can lead others effectively, you must first lead yourself. This concept resonates with every great leader’s journey, which often begins with the realization that to expect greatness from your team, you must demand it from yourself.

Self-leadership manifests itself in daily actions, often starting with seemingly small yet essential habits. Being punctual, maintaining physical fitness, and consistently following through on commitments are just a few examples. It’s critically important to set a high bar for oneself as a high performer. When you lead by example, setting high standards for your own behavior and performance, you begin to inspire and guide your team effectively.

Self-leadership also involves being accountable for your actions and decisions. It’s about consistency in both words and actions.. A leader’s credibility is built upon this foundation, and it’s the first step in gaining the respect and trust of your team.

Back in 2014 when I was still in the early phases of my leadership journey, I had a team member call me out about saying I was going to do one thing, but my actions were not aligned. In the moment I got defensive, but it was a pivotal moment in my leadership journey as it showed the importance of leading by example and having personal integrity.

When you master self-leadership, you establish yourself as a role model, leading from the front. Your actions become a source of inspiration for your team, fostering a culture of excellence within your organization. When your team sees your commitment to self-improvement and integrity, they are more likely to follow your lead and create a company of team success.

Level 2: Leading Others

While self-leadership forms the foundation of effective leadership, the next level involves leading others. This transition can be challenging as leading a team requires a different set of skills and characteristics. To be a high-performing leader,you need to cast a clear vision for your team, communicate it passionately, and always make & take decisive actions.

As an entrepreneur or business owner, your team relies on you for direction and guidance. It’s crucial to be dialed in with your leadership, setting clear goals and making firm decisions. The vision you have for your company should not only be understood by your team but deeply embraced by them. Your enthusiasm and dedication to the mission should be infectious.

One of our coaching clients at Early To Rise was struggling with getting buy-in from her team. After some coaching, we realized that she never clearly casted her vision and company mission to her team. For the next 90 days, we worked on a plan for her to clearly communicate this vision and mission, and her team started to understand and buy-into the company, and everything started to change for the better.

Effective leadership is also about ensuring that your team feels valued, heard, and integral to the mission’s success. Make it a point to understand their goals and challenges, and provide feedback when necessary. This creates a sense of ownership and belonging, encouraging your team to align their efforts with the shared vision.

Level 3: Building Leaders

A true high-performing leader doesn’t just lead; they also inspire others to become leaders themselves. This level is the pinnacle of leadership excellence, where you consistently invest in your team members, equipping them with the values and vision you’ve established. This investment often yields the most rewarding results as your team members rise to leadership positions within your organization or embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys.

I can speak directly to this on both sides of the equation. I’ve been blessed to have been mentored by Craig the past 12 years. During this span Craig has helped me develop into a great leader, and has awarded me a leadership position at Early To Rise.

I’ve also been fortunate enough to develop other great leaders. I recently just sold one of my businesses. The individual who bought my business was a team member, someone who I helped develop into an incredible leader that will one day create other great leaders under him. I like to call it the Virtuous Wheel of Leadership.

Building leaders is not only a testament to your leadership skills but also the most significant mark of success. When your team members grow and develop under your guidance, it not only strengthens your organization but also establishes your legacy as a leader.

To become a high-performing leader in the world of entrepreneurship you must apply these principles:

  • Self-Reflection: Allocate time each day to reflect on your actions, decisions, and behaviors. Evaluate whether they align with the leader you aspire to be. Continuously improve and adjust your habits and mindset.
  • Effective Communication: Establish open and clear lines of communication with your team. Understand their goals, challenges, and concerns. Provide constructive feedback and create an environment where everyone feels heard and valued.
  • Invest in Growth: Never stop learning and growing. Whether it’s attending seminars, reading books, or seeking coaching and mentorship, investing in your personal and professional development is a continuous journey. A high-performing leader is always evolving.

If you aspire to become the high-performing leader you’re capable of being, the path is clear.

Cultivate self-leadership, lead others with vision and passion, and build a team of leaders. In the world of entrepreneurship where success often hinges on effective leadership, these principles are your key to achieving greatness. 

Never Ever Ever Give Up on your leadership journey!

Daniel Woodrum

Early To Rise, Head Coach