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A little more than two decades ago, Dave Ramsey set out to live the American dream . . . but created a nightmare instead. Flat broke, with his marriage hanging on by a thread and two babies to feed, he had no choice but to forge ahead after his company failed.
Only this time, it was on a card table in his living room, where he started a new business based on the tough financial lessons he had learned. And 20 years of hard work later, he has built a national brand that gives hope to millions and employs more than 500 team members.
On the road to success, Dave learned a lot about owning your own business and leading a team. Those lessons turned into the principles that helped him build and grow his company. And although there are too many to list in one article, we’ve compiled a few of his top pointers to get you started on the way to becoming a leader in all aspects of your life.
1. Always remember that people matter. Your customers. Your family. Your team members. They all have hopes and dreams. They all have struggles. They all matter. At Dave’s company, everything he and his leaders do comes back to this simple idea.
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2. The number-one hiring mistake most business owners make is not taking enough time. You’ve got to slow down and invest more heavily in interviews before bringing someone on—even when you desperately need help.
Related: Top 11 Interview Questions You Need to Ask
3. Try to find people who are doing things you want to emulate and learn from them. Ask questions. It will put you ahead of the game in any area of your life.
4. Most people and organizations fail from a lack of clear goals and focus. Lasting success is planned out, not stumbled upon.
5. As a leader of an organization, every word you say carries weight, so be careful and wise with your words.
6. The Golden Rule—treat other people like you want to be treated—can be applied to every aspect of your business. When you would expect to be praised, praise. When there's a problem you would expect help with, lend a hand.
7. Stop spending time doing ridiculous things to avoid facing the things you are afraid of. Fear paralyzes your decision-making ability. Deal with issues and move on.
8. If using God’s financial principles in our personal lives causes us to win because they always work, then using God’s financial principles in our business lives will cause us to win because they always work.
9. Look for every opportunity to show your team that, although you’re in charge, you’re all in this together. Show them by your actions that leading is serving.
10. Winning organizations must have a culture of communication. Without it, team members are detached and insecure.
No matter what business you’re in, it’s never easy. But by leading with your heart as well as your head, it can be soul-satisfying and a lot of fun for you and your team. It’s the best way to win.
This article was originally published on EntreLeadership.com, the place to get articles, tools, and advice about business and leadership.