As of yesterday I've been in business for myself for 12 years; yeah, I should have written this yesterday but time gets away from us all. I've learned a lot of lessons over all those years as it pertains to business, but I've also learned a lot about how other people lead or try to lead, something I saw as a daily employee and yet didn't hear about as much as I do now.

Last year on another blog I wrote a post titled 11 Lessons Learned From 11 Years In Business. I didn't want to do 12 things because truthfully I wasn't sure I could come up with 12 things different than what I said last year. Instead, I thought I'd go a much different route. Last year I wrote a post titled 10 Leadership Tips In 2 Minutes. This time around I'm only going to do 3, and it's not tips but reality, things I've seen or not seen this year that I think are important for those wishing to be better at leadership need to consider, and none of them repeat what I wrote in those 10 tips. Here we go, short and simple:

1. There's nothing wrong with being nice. There's this thing that says nice indicates weakness; nothing can be further from the truth. Nice is simplistic and gives you the opportunity to show that you care for others because what they're giving you is appreciated. Trust me, people work better for those who are consistently nice than those who are brutal or, as my mother says, "some-timey".

2. There's nothing wrong with looking out for your own self interests. On this blog I always say that you need to treat your employees as the most important assets in your department. However, like in life in general, or like those instructions for the oxygen mask on an airplane, if you don't take care of yourself first you can't take care of anyone else. Don't be narcissistic; it's not all about you. In the end you have business and personal needs like everyone else; you have to figure out when you have to protect yourself over the needs of others and when you have to own up to your responsibilities as a leader for others.

3. There's nothing wrong with being happy. More than half of the people I meet who are in leadership positions aren't happy at all, not even when the work day is over. Leadership is a big responsibility but it's not what should define anyone. If you're not happy in life you need to address that, and then you need to figure out how to bring it into the workplace. Don't be phony about it because people can tell when you're faking it. If you don't like what you do then change it in some fashion; the best thing about being a leader is that you have more control over your own fate than everyone else does. If you don't think so... contact me and we'll work it out.

How's that for a closing sales message? That's one lesson I need to enact on better for year #13. 😉