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VIEWPOINT: Achieving longevity in leadership

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Following huge financial crises, the millennial generation of today has experienced a loss of trust in leadership. They are also increasingly civically minded. Leaders must connect with them  if they want their business to last.

In business, longevity means more than just having your company mark work anniversaries and contribute towards the industry and the economy. Such companies do play a vital role in society by providing employment and service. However, companies with longevity leave ripples of positive outcomes for generations to come. Great companies continue to thrive beyond any one individual leader.

All leaders want to finish well, to know they have empowered and enhanced the lives of their employees and customers. However, so few do. Here are a few reasons why, and what you can do to promote longevity in your company and as a leader.

PRIORITISE SO YOU DON’T BURN OUT

Many leaders work an unsustainable number of hours week after week, not getting enough sleep, exercise or family time. It is not uncommon in a fast-paced corporate setting to become a workaholic, where work ethic becomes more about the number of hours you clock than doing the right thing. Sometimes leaders spend too much time trying to prove how busy they are rather than how effective they are. Work smart and prioritise wisely, so that you have time for life outside work. Being balanced is not just good for you, but also sets a good example.

FIND MENTORS WHO WILL CHALLENGE YOU HONESTLY

Leaders are prone to thinking that leadership means always knowing what to do. However, relying solely on your own opinions is never a good idea. Leaders are often are reluctant to turn to someone for help or advice because they’re afraid it will be perceived as weak or as being unable to lead. Don’t regard suggestions as a threat and shoot yourself in the foot by disregarding help or guidance. The best leaders are not afraid to seek counsel.

BE OPEN TO CHANGE AND NEVER STOP LEARNING

Ambidexterity in the leadership context refers to exploring new and different ways of leading instead of following the same tried and tested paths. A leader who can’t or won’t change is dead in the water. Be willing to adapt and any part of your business if it could make a difference. From exploring flexible working hours for employees or learning to effectively manage social media to connect with clients – look for opportunities to ensure your business is relevant and is addressing the needs and concerns of the millennial market. This will help ensure your legacy for years to come.

Author: Brett Tromp CA(SA) is CFO of  Discovery Health