Five Leadership Secrets in a Service Business You Can Learn
From Musk, Bezos, and Jobs
How do you become a better leader?
Maybe it’s time to look outside of the service sector.
In fact, some of the world’s biggest tech leaders can teach you so much.
No service business can achieve success without a great leader.
It’s just a fact. The leader creates the vision and the structure for the business. They set the example for their people to follow and they’re responsible for coaching their people.
A great leader brings in the A-players and scales their business.
As for the not so great leaders…they start to struggle.
But here’s the good news. You don’t have to be born as a great leader to become one. You can learn the secrets of leadership and apply them to your business.
And the best teachers are those who’ve followed the same path as you. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve worked in the service industry. However, they have built businesses from the ground up.
And they’ve become billionaires in the process!
People like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk can teach you so much about service business leadership.
Just think about their journeys. Take Steve Jobs as an example. He started out as a coder and IT expert. He knew how to do the technical stuff. Eventually, he used that knowledge to found a business and he built it based on his leadership ideas.
Does that sound familiar?
It should because most service business owners start out as technicians first. They then have to develop into great leaders during the course of running their businesses.
That’s where this article aims to help you. We’re going to pull some secrets of leadership from some of the world’s most important tech leaders.
And we’re going to show you how to apply those secrets to improve your service business leadership.
Elon Musk – Create a Feedback Loop
The CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk is one of the world’s most prominent billionaires. He’s also an amazing leader as he manages several businesses.
One of the reasons why Musk is so influential is that he has a vision that inspires others to follow him. However, he’s also quick to point to the importance of constant evaluation of yourself:
“I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better. I think that's the single best piece of advice — constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”
This is one of the most important service business leadership secrets.
Nobody’s perfect. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes while building your business. And in many cases, you won’t even recognize that some of the things you do affect morale.
Your people are one of your most valuable resources. Get feedback from them constantly on how they think you perform as a leader. You’ll see where your weaknesses lie and be able to come up with leadership ideas to counteract them.
Steve Jobs – Simplify (Be it Your Service or Your System)
Many service business owners have a habit of overcomplicating things.
The business grows and you start adding more services. That means you need more systems in place to deal with the growth. The big mistake here is that you keep adding without streamlining. Old systems stay in place and everything turns into a mess.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was a big believer in simplicity.
“That's been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Jobs makes a crucial point here. Sometimes, it takes a little hard work at the beginning to achieve something amazing in the end.
As a service business leader, you may have a mass of complicated systems in place already. You know they’re hampering your business. But the thought of untangling that complex web gives you a headache.
So you leave things as they are and keep moving along. All of the while, the business gets more complex and you end up burning out.
Jobs points out that taking action is one of the secrets of leadership. Once you’ve identified a complexity issue, put the work in to simplify it. It’ll take time. But you’ll build a more streamlined set of systems that make it easier for you to lead within your business.
Jeff Bezos – Don’t Follow the “Safe” Path
The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest men. He’s also an innovator. Bezos jumped into the online domain many years before others realized how important ecommerce would become. Even today, he’s exploring ways to make space travel accessible to consumers.
This is a man who’s never taken the safe path. And he says that’s one of the secrets of leadership.
“If you’re going to take bold bets, they’re going to be experiments, and if they’re experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to work. Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.”
You’re going to make some tough decisions as a leader. And as Bezos points out, the prospect of failing always looms over you.
It’s an ever-present risk.
And it’s the fear of potential failure that leads to so many taking the “safe” option. Service business owners keep doing what they’re doing even though they know it’s not going to help them scale.
That’s not how you inspire people.
Service business leadership requires you to set an example for your people. They want to see that you’re bold and that you have ambition.
Why would an A-player stick with you if they see that you’re scared to try new things?
Great leaders recognize that the “safe” path isn’t always the right path. Have the courage to take calculated risks. That courage alone can help you to inspire your people to achieve more.
Elon Musk – Unite Your Team
We’re back to Elon Musk for another of the secrets of leadership.
You want to recruit A-players to your service business. However, having great individuals isn’t necessarily going to lead to great results.
Great leaders can unite those individuals into a cohesive team.
“Talent is extremely important. It's like a sports team, the team that has the best individual player will often win, but then there's a multiplier from how those players work together and the strategy they employ.”
It’s that “working together” multiplier that’s going to prove so important. Great leaders recruit people for their personalities as well as their skills. You need people who mesh with the culture that you’re building. If you’re not paying attention to that aspect of recruiting, you run the risk of hiring toxic individuals.
And they’re going to make life miserable for you and the rest of the team.
It’s better to recruit an awesome person that you need to train rather than to recruit a skilled person whom your team won’t like.
Steve Jobs – Love What You Do
Let’s round things out with one more of Steve Jobs’ secrets of leadership.
The Apple founder loved what he did. He had such a burning passion for technology that he also strove to achieve more. Even when Apple burned him, he eventually came back because of his love for his work.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love.”
Running a business isn’t always smooth sailing. You’ll face all sorts of challenges along the way.
It’s how you confront those challenges that defines you as a leader.
If you let the first setback grind you down, your people will notice. And they’re not going to feel inspired if you look like you hate what you do.
That’s the impression you’re giving off when you’re overworked and burned out.
Rediscover your passion for service business leadership. You love this line of work. That’s why you founded your own business in the first place.
Remember that when things get tough. That passion will pull you through tough times and help you to stay positive in the face of adversity.
And that inspires a culture of positivity that affects your entire team.
Unlock the Secrets of Service Business Leadership
Don’t limit yourself to advice from other service business owners.
Anyone who’d built a successful business can teach you something valuable. Here, we have three tech industry leaders who offer lessons that all service business owners can apply.
Have passion for what you do and allow that passion to take you away from the “safe” path. Focus on hiring people who mesh with your culture and vision.
Finally, encourage your people to provide you with feedback. You’re not perfect. Nobody is. Your team can show you how to improve as a leader.
But this only scratches the surface. CEO Warrior can help you to complete your transformation into a truly great leader.