I am at that point in life where I can look back and enjoy remembering some of the great experiences I have been given over the years. I have been blessed in many ways. One of those is working with some wonderful leaders. Some were mentors, some helped me reach new heights but all of the great leaders who influenced me did so through their actions. Here are a just five leadership lessons I learned. I believe you will find these techniques timeless as you apply them today.
Accept accountability – Great leaders accept responsibility for their personal actions and the results of their team. If you want to lose your team’s loyalty just throw them under the bus one or two times when goals are not met or results do not meet expectations. You are the leader of the team. You are ultimately responsible. Embrace it. Live it.
Get to know the people on your team – Every person on your team is an individual. In short, they are special. Don’t treat them like interchangeable spark plugs in an engine. By knowing more about them, (dreams, desires, fears, frustrations, etc.) the better you will be able to place them in the right seat on the bus. Here’s a free secret…. Happy people produce more than unhappy people! B.I.N.G.O.!!!!
Be aware – You are a leader in your organization. To be a great leader you cannot just concentrate on your direct reports. There are other pillars in the organization. Reach out to your peers. Visit with folks deeper in your organization. You have to be aware of what is going on in your entire organization not just your immediate direct reports. Be informed and you will be much more effective.
Be a servant. Take your rewards last – I attended a national conference recently. At the conference I was visiting with some executives that happen to have some of their direct reports standing with them. The two executives were bragging about when they were going to be exercising their stock options soon. The direct reports did not have any stock options to exercise…. bad taste. I have financed companies where the owners were super frugal at work, to the point of being stingy with pay, benefits, etc. yet they drove very expensive cars, parked in the best space (why were those spaces not for the customers?) had all the perks and seemed to rub it in the face of those who worked for them….. again, bad taste. People enthusiastically serve those who are willing to get their hands dirty and work alongside of them. People detest working for those who are arrogant.
“Leadership is a lot like a game of tennis. Those who don’t serve well, end up losing.”
Let your actions set the tone – Don’t you just love the leader who comes in at the last minute with a crisis, assigns you the work and then leaves to go play golf or go have cocktails with their buddies? In the meantime, you and the rest of the team handle the crisis by missing dinner with your loved ones.. NOT! Leaders who develop this habit quickly learn no one is going to walk the extra mile for them. Don’t ask others to do things you are not willing to do yourself. Again, let your actions set the tone.
It does not matter if it was in the medieval ages or today, right now, in your office. The above practices stand the test of time. If they are not followed habitually, the soul of your organization/team is being damaged.
If you have not ordered your copy of “The Corporate Soul Handbook” yet, go to the store on this website or Amazon and do so, TODAY! Until next time, peace. 🙂