Have you made a list of the 5 leaders you most admire? If not, why not? They can be from business world, social media, politics, technology, the sciences any field really. Once you have narrowed down that list, then ask yourself- “why do I admire them?” The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments- impressive as they may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an level with you. Is this correct? If not what is it?
And when we are inspired, we tap into our “best” selves and deliver the most amazing work.
So-can we learn this ability to touch and inspire people? The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent. Honestly, I’m more convinced of this now because of the reality in which I work and engage with others. For those who fall short of being a natural born star (which is pretty much MANY of us) however, leadership skills can be acquired, honed, and perfected. And when this happens, your chances of engaging . Great leaders make great culture.
Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (often unstated) needs and desire. This allows great leaders to speak to these needs, as well as fulfill them. When people feel they are understood and empathized something, they RESPOND and at that time the bond is formed. That bond called Emotional Intelligence and it’s key to your success as a leader.
Show me a know-it-all and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have a clue about being human, plus know-it-alls are annoying. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, not willing to be AVERAGE, and welcome new knowledge and fresh new challenges. Furthermore, they love input and constructive criticism because they are willing to take that information and improve themselves.
This brings us to my next point- It’s all about investing in YOU. I personally invest in a coach, in leadership conferences, and books. This will help you and your Agency get better! This is called Continuous Learning and without it you cannot and will not become a Great Leader.
Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh new look. They know that what worked in one situation may not in another. Before you act, make sure you understand the specifics of the situation and tailor your actions accordingly. Each situation needs a fresh look – this is known as Contextualization. This is yet another ingredient in your formula to become a Great Leader.
Unfortunately, way too many people think LEADERSHIP is about control. Here’s the thing- it’s NOT! They know that talented people don’t need or want people micro managing them. Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support- NOT control. I would call this ingredient ‘Let it Go.’
Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. This occurs unfortunately with too much frequency because of pressure to try and “measure up.” Real leaders are true to themselves, and in this age of transparency, your mission will be revealed only if you come across as real. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges.
I am sure you’ve heard the phrase, “nice people finish last.” Well, nice people (leaders) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again and again. The killer of Leadership is Ignorance and Arrogance, as they are a true mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level respect is an absolute must of any leader. And once again, kindness is the gift that keeps on giving. Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. The job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your agency, if you have a reputation for respect, kindness, and honesty. Not only your agency but in life too.
People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more your agency can make them a partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating your organization’s strategies, goals and challenges. People won’t be blindsided by setbacks if they’re in the loop. Being blindsided is a workplace killer, and as you know, culture within your agency is extremely important. Thus I call this ingredient ‘Collaboration.’
As I had said above- people’s careers are a big part of their lives. That seems like a no-brainer, but leaders should have it front and center at all times. Find out what your employees’ career goals are and then do everything you can to help them reach those goals. Even if it means they will eventually leave your organization. You will gain HAPPY, productive employees who will work with PASSION and commitment, and tout your agency far and wide. This is an opportunity to brand your greatness. A key is to partner with Your People (CSR/Staff).
Leadership is both an art and a science. These are simply my guidelines, not rigid rules, and with others leadership styles they may change a little. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. It’s important to add these tools to your arsenal and use them well as you strive to reach/connect with your people on an emotional level. Be Real-Be Human-Be Yourself because It Matters!