Whether your vantage point is your local youth group or national politics, examples abound showing us being a leader by role, does not a leader make in the minds of others. In your own office, once you’ve been promoted, you’re simply the same person with a new shiny title, unless, you enact the principles, efforts and actions of leadership. But what are those principles, efforts, and actions? Today’s Monday Moment describes and suggests seven of them. Whether a leader for a long while, or entering this arena as a first timer, heed these actions, put them in practice, and you and those you lead will make a big difference.
A leader must consider multiple angles, options, and people. Spend time thinking, as well as doing. Focus daily on thinking through an issue or gathering more information in order to build a better solution. Don’t spend forever in the mode of only thinking, but make it a part of the process. Actions done in haste often produce damage that must be fixed.
Those leaders who think and gather and analyze far longer than practical, have been accused of aiming too long, never knowing if they are on target. Decide to do something, even if it is nothing for now, so that you can lead better with the feedback that comes from having made a decision.
Any decision a leader does make will be perceived and received by different employees differently. Learn their differences. Employ an assessment (I recommend the CORE Profile®) to learn their personality and then study the methods for using the data. Leaders must go beyond the labels and lead different employees differently to be most effective.
Leadership, much like examples in athletics, is a marathon, not a sprint. Learning differences, gathering data, and developing new skills is a process. Making your case for an organizational change is a process. Influencing others is a process. Be persistent, failing to give anyone a reason to consistently call you impatient.
Seek more than to be merely understood by your questions. Seek out information, input, opinions, barriers, preferences, ideas, and innovation. Say tell me more. Ask what are your thoughts. Request the reasoning behind a decision or suggestion that you don’t fully understand. You lead good people. Be interested in their insights and information.
A study of over 1000 leaders from the Top 50 Global companies revealed startling intel. 80% of leaders polled believed influence was based on talking, more, much, and often. Stop. Listen and learn from those you lead. They have much to teach you when closer to the front-line issues than you at present. What you learn will increase your influence.
Even done in only 15-minute increments, the ability to focus is priceless. In this day and age, we practice leadership through distraction. How much better would our efforts be, our employees be, and our results be if we were able to focus intently on what we were doing without interruption. Make this a priority to put into practice.
Leadership. It’s a term widely discussed, talked about in detail, and expressed as what we must have, yet so few agree on what it means to do it. When new to the role, the lack of clarity on what being a leader means in your office, can be career killing. When tenured in a leadership position, leading is often the result of how we’ve always done it. Yet, how much more effective could the leaders you employ, the leaders you call colleagues, and our entire organizational structure, results, and culture be, if all enacted at least these seven fundamental steps or principles in day to day leadership?
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist who coaches, consults with, and speaks to leaders of all levels, building their skills, emotional intelligence and authenticity. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.