Leadership starts with a mindset then evolves into attainable goals and outcomes based on the commitment to learn and implement change along a path.
Leadership is personal. Everyone has their own leadership style. My approach is: Define, Learn, Do. It’s a blended view of leadership based on my own style, what I read about and learn that’s relevant to my business and my clients’ challenges, and how I lead teams and empower them to act.
Always dream big and have the broader vision in mind. If you think small you only gain small. This is a careful balance of having a path and being willing to alter direction when needed. From small to large-scale impactful decisions, weighing the decision at hand with a top-level view is a critical quality of a good leader.
If you hold your vision of success too close and rigid, it doesn’t allow for the essential elements of listening and learning. Taking the time to engage with others whom you can learn from and ask questions is key. At a basic level, seek out other leaders in your industry and consistently follow and track with the learning they share. At a more intentional level, build personal relationships with leaders whom you regularly share ideas with and give feedback.
Your choices as a leader break down into the what and how.
This is where the information filter becomes important. Knowing how to categorize the learning and ideas you have with your larger plans and the resources to carry out actions makes all the difference in your sanity and effectiveness. Streamline your idea and goal evaluation process so you can more decisively get to the doing part of leadership.
Start with your big picture and vision. I begin every kick-off meeting with “let’s begin with the end in mind;” then set specific goals that are measurable, achievable, realistic, and time targeted. Remember this equation: Less me, More them (your team) = Success. Always push yourself to expand rather than settling for your current view or what’s attainable now.
Once the what is in place, you’re free to focus on the how. This covers the daily communications and conversation you have with your team. To do this effectively, you need to have the bases of character, speaking and listening covered.
o Openly admit faults and apologize for your mistakes
o Learn to pause before reacting to prevent you from punishing the messenger
o Recognize the strengths in everyone else and empower them to be better
o Consistently align what you SAY you are going to do to with what you’re actually GOING to do
o Do not speak with anger or when angered
o Factually state errors and keep positive to retain your influence and effectiveness
o Praise your team in specific details and do this often
o Encourage all team members not to make excuses, bring only solutions
o Know when your contribution is valued and when it is best to remain silent
o View your team as peers and truly collaborate with them
o Encourage others to contribute to the conversation to engage them and increase participation and involvement
Defining. Learning. Doing. With these three great qualities in a leader working in balance, you have the opportunity to reach goals and lead others to do so. These elements take place at the onset and proactively, then are put into action daily. On the reflective side, the benefit of solid leadership is leaving a positive legacy. Remember that you are not the author of your events, but you are the author of how you tell the story.