?Successful leadership practices and professional business management skills are proficiencies that develop over time. Certainly, some people are born leaders, but there are certain areas that can be concentrated on to develop leadership skills. Mahatma Gandhi once said "If I have the belief that I can do it, I will surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning". Good leadership starts with a solid and clearly defined leadership philosophy. Why? Because your personal leadership philosophy defines a set of beliefs that determine how you react to people and situations. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras describe the key components of a leadership philosophy in their book Built to Last. At the core of a leadership philosophy they place a set of beliefs or ideologies. It is important to define these for yourself to understand your leadership philosophy. The three belief systems Collins and Porras define are what you believe about people, what you believe about life and what you believe makes groups and organisations effective. These systems are expressed in your values and ultimately shape how you behave and your leadership style. Martin Glenn is a leadership expert and brand guru with demonstrable experience and expertise. He and his team took Walkers Snack Foods from a relatively small regional operation to the most well-known supermarket brand in the UK in just five years. By 2005, Walkers occupied 45% of the ￡2-billion salty snacks industry in the UK. Today as the CEO of PepsiCo UK (the parent company of Walkers), Glenn has been tasked with making Pepsi a household name in the UK. Martin Glenn has had excellent teams behind him that have aided in his success. And while quality of product, branding marketing and distribution are the hallmarks of Walkers crisps' success - his account of this turnaround reveals many valuable lessons about successful business leadership practices, and his personal leadership philosophies. In an eBook entitiled Successful Leadership in Practice, Glenn distils the many leadership lessons he's learned along the way. These include advice about managing teams and creativity, when to let go, an uncompromising commitment to quality and excellence and engagement with every employee. Martin Glenn provides some clear lessons in successful leadership practices. For example, he says that in addition to having a clear leadership philosophy - it's also important to know your business inside and out. A mistake many people in management positions make is just viewing the world from their desks. Solely relying on data is a big mistake - and it's advisable to get out into the field yourself to see what's really going on. While you're out there, make time to talk to people. This is one way to elicit information from them which can provide ways to improve or innovate. He goes on to say that great business leadership strategies should not only keep people motivated, but also ensure that the business stays fresh and keeps moving forward. This does not mean that you should change for change's sake - this can be fatal to a brand that has been established over time. However, when marketing a product keep things extra-ordinary. This will ensure that people don't stop talking about your product or business. Another lesson is that taking time to engage with every employee is vital to excellence in leadership. It's a well-established fact that deeper relationships and open internal communication channels with employees make every member of an organisation not only feel more valued and empowered, but also motivated to do their job better and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organisation. Finally, and this may be a shocker - it's not all about profit! In Martin Glenn's example with Walkers crisps, yes, the profits doubled in five years but this was not the initial objective. This was just a natural result of the way things developed because of Glenn's focus on doing his job properly and a focus on growth. Certainly taking these lessons in successful leadership practices on board can only improve your leadership skills, enabling you to motivate teams and take your business to new heights in the knowledge that you have a solid foundation on which to build. About the Author: Shoulders of Giants features expert discussions by thought leaders and experts in their industries on topics relating to smart business thinking such as successful leadership practices.