Maybe you’ve noticed that on each of my blog posts I sign off with “Lead On”. While it may come off as cliche, it’s more of an empowering send-off to encourage you to be a great leader.
I’m merely one voice in a sea of thousands with a perspective of what Leadership is, and I agree that some of what I’ll write below is not new, but borrowed. And yet I hope to help someone grow as a Leader.
If you’re like me, as you seek to become a better leader, you’ve read books by John Maxwell or Ken Blanchard (or a host of others) trying to find that little nugget that flips your leadership switch.
Here’s a couple oft repeated points:
- Recognize that your position as leader simply means that you are to support and mentor those you are leading, so they gain the skills and tools required to eventually replace you.
- Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Never be the smartest person in the room. Never assume you have all the answers. None-of-us is as smart as all-of-us.
- Be a servant leader. Be empowering and uplifting. Help others grow and publicly acknowledge their success.
- Be personal. Be available. Be in the moment. Ask questions and really listen. Let people see your human side. Let them know you care.
- Show humility. A leader can be self-absorbed. Be grateful for your position.
There are really two kinds of leadership styles: The “Controller” and the “Releaser”
The Controller likes to:
- Be the Boss
- Make every decision
- Tell people what to do and how to do it
The Releaser likes to:
- Empower people
- Hear feedback and input from employees
- Develop aligned systems, structures and processes
- Model a high-trust team environment
While it seems obvious that the Releaser will have greater success in the long run, whatever type of leader you are, here are a few things a leader MUST do:
- Build Trust: Without it, your team will suspect you, question your agenda, slow you down, hold you back and reject your leadership abilities
- Tap Into Talent: People have far more talent than they ever use. You must first recognize, then help people tap into the unique and vast reserve of talents that they already have (and may not even recognize themselves)
- Give Effective Feedback: Provide feedback that helps create awareness, is focused on actions that achieve results. Your feedback should be created specific to your audience and their personality, so they open up and not shut down.
- Share your vision, strategies and long term goals frequently. Model the behaviours you seek from others. (they won’t do it if you don’t do it)
Developing your own Leadership style takes time. Find a groove that fits your personality. Don’t act like someone else. It will be obvious to everyone. Be genuine. In the long run it’s beneficial to all involved.