Everyday I meet people. Great people, people I admire, people I can learn from, people that do things in innovative and unexpected ways, people that do things differently than I do, people that impress me. People that are successful, people that have character, people that don´t give up, people that inspire others, people that motivate me.

And I am interested in – or even fascinated by – the dynamics of people in business life. How people interact in companies. How they communicate with each other. Whom they follow and who disappoints them. What great leaders do differently to weak CEOs. How people make companies successful or how mis-management lets companies fail.

Over the years I have had the chance to watch CEOs, entrepreneurs and employees in very small to very large companies. And with every experience I made, every corporate culture I met or every interaction I had it became clear to me how I would lead a business and especially people, if I had the chance. And what I would try to avoid.

Since September 2010 I have the chance. And after one year at Young Internet I would like to share with you my personal guidelines for being a good leader. Not because I think you don´t have guidelines of your own. Not because I think I would be the person you have been waiting for to tell you. And definitely not because I think that this is the only possible way to do it.

It simply is my way of doing it. And for me it works.

What makes me very confident about these guidelines is that I didn´t come up with them theoretically and then tried them out in real life. It was the other way around. I intuitively tried them out and they worked. That´s why I have now written them down to inspire others and share my experiences.

So here we go:

1. Care about people

  • Show real interest in your employees
  • Have regular feedback talks with everybody
  • Treat others like you want to be treated yourself

2. Be transparent

  • Communicate openly and mean what you say
  • Be yourself in social networks and not somebody you would like to be
  • Show weaknesses – that´s human
  • Admit mistakes – nobody is perfect
  • Don´t try to play a role – be yourself (people will find out anyway)

3. Focus

  • Define a clear strategy, goals and milestones
  • Have a stop-doing list
  • Have real company USPs – don´t be average

4. Take decisions – and execute

  • Take risks
  • Be reliable – and stick to your decisions
  • Fight for your beliefs
  • Analytics + gut feeling = best of both worlds

5. Hire people that are better than you – self-explanatory

6. Avoid attitude – don´t think you´re special

  • Treat people with respect – no matter who they are
  • Be modest and humble
  • Do the „stupid“ things
  • Be polite – to everybody

7. “Walk around the pond” – at least once a week

  • Have the big picture – at all times
  • Have a vision
  • Have a mission
  • Define corporate values – and stick to them
  • Work strategically – don´t get stuck in micromanagement
  • Trust your people

Do I live up to these guidelines all the time? I seriously try to. And if I don´t, I am the first to notice.

Why didn´t I put things like „motivate“, „inspire“ and „create team spirit“ which are extremely important leadership qualities? Because I think that they are the result of everything I listed. I truly believe that following these guidelines leads to being motivating and inspiring. And to creating a great team spirit.

This should be the ultimate goal for every good leader.