I often sit and ponder what I would be like as a leader. If you know me, and know my desires, this probably isn’t a surprise. You see, I have a desire to lead others. I have a desire to help grow and develop others so that they can recognize their full potential. I desire to build a team whose focus is not only winning, but influencing the world around them to create positive change. I read books, listen to podcasts and go to seminars so that I can soak up as much knowledge on leadership as I can, so that when the time comes for me to lead, I’m ready.
If I were to sum up some of the attributes and traits that I find essential to great leadership, it would be an outline for how I hope to lead others one day. These characteristics would be my guiding light and the blueprint. I would use these principles as the foundation for which I lead. This foundation would be what I built upon as my experience in leadership grew and required new skills sets as it evolved.
If I were a leader, this would be my Blueprint….
If I were a leader, I would lead with Heart.
I honestly believe that leadership lives and dies with the heart. You can have power because of a position, but to have true influence and to lead others, you have to truly and honestly care for those around you. This care comes from building meaningful relationships. You have to learn about the person, their families, their goals, what drives them, what scares them, and what their future plans are. By doing so, and taking a vested interest in their life, the relationship you build allows for trust to grow and flourish. Once you have this trust, the ability to have difficult conversations about performance, expectations and accountability become easier because there is a better understanding of where the leader is coming from. They know that you truly want to help make them better.
“People who are unable to build solid, lasting relationships will soon discover that they are unable to sustain long, effective leadership.” – John Maxwell, Develop the Leader Within You
If I were a leader, I would take Extreme Ownership.
In today’s society, it is very easy to see that not many people take responsibility for anything. It is always someone else’s fault, someone else’s responsibility, someone else’s problem. To me, truly effective leaders cannot be victims. When you are leading others, there is no one else to blame when things go wrong. It is the leader’s responsibility. This can almost seem daunting, but in order to effectively lead, you have to own everything around you. If your sales force isn’t hitting goal, it’s the leader’s fault for not training them properly. Marketing strategy fail? The leader should have made sure everyone completely understood the purpose and how to utilize it properly. When leaders take extreme ownership over their domain and teams, the effect is cascaded downward to the team members and they begin to take extreme ownership over their domains. It is the leader’s responsibility to demonstrate this ownership and a “no victim” mentality in order for others to do so.
“On any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader. The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame.” -Jocko Willink, Extreme Ownership
If I were a leader, I would seek input from those I lead.
It is essential, in order to receive the highest effort from others, that they see the value in what they are doing. We see this everyday with our sports teams. These men/women are joined together to achieve an ultimate goal. Each one sees the value in their efforts toward achieving this goal. This is no difference in business. People want to be a part of something. People want to be a part of the goal setting process. I believe that being a leader who allows input on the goals the team wants to achieve, ultimately gets rewarded because the team members now have ownership. People now have a stake in achieving their goals and doing so becomes even more fulfilling. This also allows for the leader to have a clearer insight into how those he/she leads view the company and its overall objective.
“Democratic leaders develop consensus and helps people feel valued for their input.” -Daniel Goleman, Primal Leadership
If I were a leader, I would lead with Integrity.
Unfortunately, integrity is not a commodity that is easy to come by today. We live in a world where personal benefits are more important than anyone else’s. We live selfishly only worrying about ourselves and our own success no matter the cost to someone else. In order to lead effectively, I believe that what you say and what you do have to line up. The old saying, “My Word is My bond” has to hold heavy weight with a leader. The people he/she leads must trust that this person holds true to their word and that they will do what they say they will. Being a leader of integrity builds trust within the team you are leading and allows the leader to hold a higher standard. In order to truly get buy in from those around us, we must be the model for those standards and hold true to them and ourselves at all times.
“So it makes sense that the more followers see and hear their leader being consistent in action and word, the greater their consistency and loyalty. What they hear, they understand. What they see, they believe.” -John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You