Want to become a leader–the type that you yourself would follow, respect, and even emulate?
By now, you know all of the attributes, characteristics, idiosyncrasies, and quirks that you don’t want to copy–ever! You could probably make a very long list of them.
To become a leader of leaders it takes forethought, deliberate action, positive purposeful intent, patience, and vision. You could probably make an equally long list of the leadership skills you most admire.
Honesty and transparency
Knowing who you are–the real you– your strengths and weaknesses is a solid foundation upon which to build your own personal goals and professional aspirations. Real honesty is a kind of transparency to which people are drawn.
They can sense your authenticity. They can also pick up on that unspoken something [call it a vibe] that reveals whether or not you’re overly cocky about your strengths; insecure about your weaknesses; and threatened by the strengths of your subordinates.
Clarity and directness
Sometimes people don’t give you what you want because they don’t understand what you want. First make sure that you know what you want. Create your own vision statement or even a vision board. Methodically plan out the steps to get there. Make sure your plans are realistic. Set yourself up to succeed. Remember–deliberate action and positive purposeful intent are key.
When you cast your vision make sure each of your subordinates can envision it and their role in making it come to pass. Clarity about what you want and directions that will help them fulfill your mandate will result in a total buy-in.
Affirming and appreciative
Ever work until your fingers bled, you know: uber-time, not over-time? And what’d you get aside from your paycheck? Crickets–not so much as “Thanks” or a “Good effort.”
You know how it felt. So you know what not to do! People can smell a sycophant from a mile away, so that’s not what we’re talking about here. If someone does an outstanding job, say so. Better yet, show your appreciation with a lunch or a congratulatory email that the whole team sees.
Even simple recognition can be a tremendous morale booster, especially at the end of a fiscal year when everyone’s in crunch mode; or at the beginning of a new cycle when everyone’s trying to get psyched to make a fresh start.
People before production
Everyone knows that the bottom line is just that–it’s the end game; the road to the next bonus or promotion; it’s the raison d’etre for the company. But when your people feel like they’re at the bottom–the bottom of your concerns and considerations–then the race to the finish line can feel more burdensome and stressful.
And the bottom line can feel like even more of a millstone around their necks than it already is. Your subordinates’ sense that they are as valuable as the work they produce will serve you well. And you will become a leader that you wouldn’t mind working with yourself.