Dear friend, over the years I have often found myself taking on a leading role in organizations. I know that much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history but there are certain leadership ideas that some of us fail to recognize and realize in the course of reading books.
Here is a short list of things you thought you knew about leadership.
Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership. Here are 9 of the dozens of ways of leadership that I found useful:
1. Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.
2. Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.
3. Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.
4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.
5. Be persistent. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define you, your company or team.
6. Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more.
7. Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.
8. Delegate liberally. Encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.
9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, and take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!
Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted, but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.
The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own life. As an adage goes “action speaks louder than words.” Leaders are always in the limelight. Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader depends on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends, and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor across the street. Repeated actions become habits.
Until next time, make this a week one in which you are living your life to the fullest.
With appreciation and gratitude
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