Advice from the pros – Business leaders share leadership tips

Some leaders seem to have an innate leadership talent, while others have had to work hard through experience. To gain insight into honing leadership abilities, I reached out to two highly respected business leaders to get their top tips for aspiring leaders. Meet Scott Biddle, President and CEO of Scotlynn Group of Companies, and former President and CEO of TD Ameritrade. With decades of leadership experience between them, Scott and Tim have plenty of wisdom to impart.

Embrace servant leadership

The concept of servant leadership was highlighted by Scott as an important mindset for leaders today. As Scott puts it, Leadership is not about glorifying yourself. According to Tim, adopting a servant leadership mentality helps ensure that you attract and retain top talent. He says, “People want to be led by someone who cares about enabling them, not just furthering their interests or ego.” By developing a servant leadership style, you set yourself apart as a leader who genuinely wants the best for your team.

Lead with empathy

In today’s diverse business landscape, demonstrating empathy as a leader is essential. Both Scott and Tim emphasized the importance of looking at situations from team members’ perspectives and listening to understand their experiences. Leaders need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to truly empathize,” Tim advised. If you want to be a great leader, you should keep an open mind, avoid making snap judgments, and bring compassion into your approach. Meanwhile, Scott cautioned leaders against thinking they have all the answers. Recognize that you don’t always know what’s best for the people you lead. Making an effort to empathize will allow you to better support each individual on your team.

Communicate clearly and consistently

When it comes to communication as a leader, clarity and consistency are key according to Scott. The most effective leaders are great communicators across all mediums when speaking to large groups or one-on-one. Scott Biddle emphasized that leaders should tailor communication styles and channels to how each team member best receives information. He said, “Not everyone wants to hear the company roadmap in a large town hall. Take the time to understand your team’s communication preferences.” Experts also stressed the importance of repetition when communicating vision and strategy. People need to hear messages multiple times for real understanding and buy-in to occur. Being clear and consistent in your communication will help unite and motivate your team.

Never stop learning

Scott echoed this sentiment and suggested leaders dedicate time each week to reading, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and talking with mentors. He said, “The day you think you know everything is the day you’ve failed as a leader. Value continuous learning in yourself and your team.” To summarize Scott’s advice, be a servant leader who demonstrates empathy, communicates clearly, and never stops learning and growing. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to becoming the kind of leader that people want to work with and for. Use these words of wisdom from two of the best in business to enhance your leadership capabilities.