Seven Leadership Insights To Ignore At Your Own Risk
When you take an interest in leadership, you cannot ignore some important insights. Leadership is an art to master. Leading people without taking into account these insights can lead to nowhere and consistent failure.
People support and follow leaders by choice. Effective leaders add value to the lives of those who support them.
This entails listening and sometimes following the lead of your supporters. Embracing this fact along with six others will help you become a leader in your personal and professional lives.
Incremental increases in an organization’s leadership ability can generate exponential returns, and vice versa, poor leadership can crush productivity.
US companies spent $160 Billion on employee training and education. But leadership development only accounted for a mere 14 percent of that figure.
The long-lasting impact of effective workplace leadership should not be ignored.
ImportantFor many employees, leaders are not only there to provide guidance, but act as role models and motivators, helping individuals to develop and become the best they can be.
How much are leaders prepared and equipped for their roles? Leadership qualities may be inherent in some individuals, but those traits need to be fully brought out and refined.
In this article, we will discuss seven different aspects of leadership, and its perspectives. In this way, you might better understand your role as a leader as well as determine how to hone the future leaders of your company. Read on!
You Can't Do It All
Being able to delegate effectively will get you the results you need and empower and develop your teams along the way. Being a great leader involves leveraging all of the strengths of your team in order to complete specific tasks.
Leaders are revered as a beacon for guidance. But they’re not perfect by any means. They are as human as any other person.
ImportantThe crucial difference between a leader and the rest of the world is that they’re introspective. They reflect on their weaknesses and work on overcoming them.
Realize that you cannot solve every problem alone. Ask your supporters for help. Listen to their solutions and use them.
This creates confidence in your supporters. In times of crisis, confront the crisis. If needed, make the first sacrifice to show your commitment to finding a long-term solution.
If there’s one thing a leader should know well, it’s what they don’t know well.
ImportantThe best leaders not only teach their staff but learn from them as well. It’s important that a leader has vision and a plan, but the learning never stops.
Your job as a leader is to get the highest return on the company’s investment in people. Delegation is the means by which you bring out the very best in the people that you have.
The average person today is working at 50 percent of capacity. With effective management and delegation skills, you can tap into that unused 50-percent potential to increase your staff’s productivity.
Many leaders would say they already delegate a lot, yet plenty of employees would say their bosses are micromanagers who don’t delegate enough.
Letting others take the helm in carrying out certain duties frees an effective leader up to find ways where they might be done differently altogether. Delegating can actually open up new opportunities for innovation.
Leaders Are Not Born
The ability to effectively lead, motivate and direct a group of people — whether it is in business, sport or politics — requires a very complex set of skills, mostly acquired through experiences, self development as well as access to subsequent training.
You will often hear the phrase “great leaders are born.” Leadership is not genetic. This concept needs to be debunked.
ImportantLeadership is about having a strong vision for both short-term and long-term success. It involves developing the skills to analyze problems and their best possible solutions.
Sure, some kids show leadership skills from an early age, but the vast majority are taught to lead.
Parents, coaches, and bosses turn those kids into the leaders they are today. Through hard work and dedication, anyone with the drive can become the leader they want to be.
To be successful, all leaders must choose the right action at the right time and keep a steady eye on the ball.
They must be courageous, self-aware — and ensure the consistent support of their team of followers. This is a skill which needs to be practiced.
If leadership were inborn, then leadership training programs would have no impact. But the opposite is true. When leaders make a conscious effort to improve upon their skills, things improve for them.
Facing their fears, seeking feedback, reading, and learning, and practice-practice-practice are keys to improving a leaders’ ability to win friends and influence people. All of us have seen talented people who are lazy and lack passion.
Leaders are made, not born. You learn to become a leader by doing what other excellent leaders have done before you.
ImportantAs a leader, you combine your personal competencies with the competencies of a variety of others into a smoothly functioning team that can outperform all its competitors. When you become a team leader, you must immediately develop a whole new set of leadership skills.
📚 Additional reading
Whether you were born with the special sauce or not, if you want to be a leader you’re going to have to work to develop and refine the characteristics of the greats.
Character Speaks Volumes
Some leaders believe that when they attain a certain level of leadership status, respect will automatically be given to them. This is not the case. Leadership and influence are not interchangeable and respect has to be earned, not given.
Character shows leadership abilities. A feeble character limits your ability to lead and breaks trust.
ImportantStrong character communicates integrity, restraint and a strong work ethic. Powerful leaders serve as a foundation for their supporters. As an effective leader, you will make sensible decisions, assume the blame when you make mistakes and give credit to your supporters.
Effective leaders roll up their sleeves and take charge. They are the ones that don’t just talk about problems but come up with their own solutions fearlessly.
This includes being confident enough to lead, knowing that your plans and vision are not only viable for the team but the absolute best decision possible. If you lack confidence in a leadership role, people will spot that quickly.
Leadership with good character brings a spirit of excellence. These leaders expect more than the status quo from themselves and the people they lead.
This character attribute encourages team members to learn more and do more. With excellence comes responsibility. This leader takes responsibility for their actions, even when it means owning up to mistakes. They have a strong sense of accountability and expect the same from their team members.
Honesty is expected from leaders to garner trust and respect from people for reliability.
ImportantMoreover, we look up to people who are loyal to their words and are accountable. Thus, honesty is the most valued trait for any business leader or any leader in general.
📚 Additional reading
Good leaders always motivate their employees and boost their morale when needed. They sail their boat smoothly, even in hazardous situations. They keep themselves self-motivated and set an example to follow.
Roads Are Bumpy
Experiencing failure can force you out of your comfort zone and take your career to new heights. It can help you reevaluate your decisions and ways of thinking.
Failure can advance your professional development as a leader. Don’t dwell on it — look at failure as a learning opportunity.
Determining the source of your failure is one way to learn, as a leader, what not to do. Plus, holding yourself accountable for your failures is imperative in teaching team members a productive, learning-focused response to failing.
Nothing in life creates resiliency like struggle and failure.
ImportantPersistence and resilience come from working through difficult problems and still finding the will to keep going and take chances. Every failure is an opportunity to rethink your own limits and realize how much stronger and more capable you are than you ever thought.
Failure is not the opposite of success, but a part of it. Failure is not a word that oozes positivity, but it is certainly a precursor to something big.
Success is not the first step, but the end of the long road, where you will face lots of failures. Failure should be seen as an opportunity, and then the results will also be much more reliable. Success takes time.
It is ironic that we often shy away from challenging situations for fear of failure when it is exactly our inaction and indecisiveness that will bring about failure.
ImportantOftentimes, making no decision is akin to making a decision, but all you’re doing is perpetuating the status quo. Effective leaders have the courage to make tough decisions based on hard facts and a point of view about the future.
Coaching Is Not Bullying
Managers direct subordinates by ensuring that individuals follow company rules and systems to accomplish the company’s vision. An effective leader inspires and influences supporters by showing them how the vision will make them better people or workers.
Managers tell, leaders sell. The best leaders, like coaches, give those around them permission to succeed and know how to help them reach their potential.
ImportantEffective leaders recognize that while they can personally be very effective in their initiatives, their true measure of success is the legacy of other leaders they leave behind.
Some might picture a leader as a chess player moving his pawns around, but the truth is, the most effective leaders are the one who coach their pawns to move themselves around.
When you mentor your employees and turn them into the future leaders of tomorrow, you’re able to see the leadership in your credit union become a more cooperative process.
Coaching isn’t about telling people what to do or solving the challenges, but about helping them develop a self-realization and creating circumstances to solve challenges.
By the way, developing others by working on their challenges provides leaders a unique chance to self-introspect and learn. Just as the best way of learning is by teaching, the best way of leading is by coaching.
To adopt this coaching style may require a shift in mindset. Traditionally, being a leader has been about being directive and telling people what to do.
ImportantBeing a coach is more about asking the right questions, providing specific feedback, helping employees make a connection to others who can help them, and empowering employees to discover solutions themselves.
📚 Additional reading
Coaching plays a crucial role in keeping people engaged and committed. It brings out the best in them and helps remove obstacles to their success. Coaching is not about telling people what to do or how to do it; rather, you help people discover their own paths by encouraging and questioning.
Keep It Simple Stupid
Communication involves the exchange of information between the speaker and the listener. Complex messages may go unheard due to the listener’s inability to understand the message.
Effective leaders must transmit complex messages in simple terms to achieve message clarity.
This process also involves listening to the receiver to understand how to formulate the message. Employing effective communication skills allows you to teach, guide, manage and direct those who look to you for support.
Simplicity is not something you find or something you do, simplicity is a way of thinking and it takes discipline.
Leadership is the ability to influence people; to get them to act together and on time; to provide direction and instill confidence. Great leaders understand that leadership involves taking the collective, their people and team on the same journey as themselves and making it as easy as possible for people to follow.
It takes great insight, know-how and experience to understand the complexity of business issues. But it is possible to strip down the problem into the essential elements to allow a simple solution to emerge.
ImportantThe simplicity doesn’t make it right. It’s the specific deep domain knowledge of that space, mixed with great insight, curiosity and a burning ambition to crystalize an answer that often leads to the simple solution being right.
Keeping things simple allows you to focus on one thing at a time without the distractions that complexity breeds. Chances are, you’ve seen over-complication in the organizations you know.
Committees. Meetings. An overabundance of priorities. A convoluted project plan. If a strategy or task is overcomplicated, people do not want to do it, even if they can figure it out.
Walk The Talk, Talk the Walk
Leadership is about the process of an individual influencing other people’s behavior, attitude and opinions. Leaders often set the course that other people have to steer towards it.
Although leaders are meant to give directions, they should know their trades well and get involved in the actual work.
Not only will the leader develop new skills and knowledge, but he will also build trust with the employees. Getting involved in the actual trade gives the leader a snapshot of the challenges that the marketing staff go through and help work out ways to make their work easier.
The best leaders in the world strategically pass the credit and take the blame. When you blame your team for a failure, you make your team wary, and sabotage any trust you may have built.
ImportantExemplary leaders accept personal responsibility for their company’s failures and pass credit when it is given in order to build trust, contain anxiety in their team, and model humility and graciousness.
Your company’s core values should align with your personal code of ethics. If it doesn’t, you’ll have a hard time both enforcing it and exemplifying it for others.
ImportantIf you’ve never engaged in the process of clarifying your company’s values, take the opportunity now to do so. These values tend to stay fairly consistent over our lifetimes, barring major or traumatic events, but it’s important to give this process your full attention and involvement.
Get your hands dirty. When you sit back and dictate to others what you want done without being willing to do it yourself, you are setting yourself up to be hated.
Absolutely no one likes doing the dirty work. But if the leader in the room is willing to get up to their elbows in something that’s not their job, not one other person will be able to complain about it.
Consistency is key to great leadership. When a leader is consistent, even during turbulent times, this gives employees direction but also importantly models some of the behaviors that seem to not be attainable until someone consistently lives them.
This also gives staff the necessary support as they know once expectations are set and necessary uncomfortable conversations have happened, they can see nothing but consistency and flexibility that is communicated through actions and written communication when required.
Leadership is less about a strong or charismatic individual and more about a group of people working together to achieve results. That’s why we say that leadership is a journey — different teams, projects, situations, and organizations will require you to apply these skills in different ways.
Great leaders help motivate others, provide guidance, build morale, improve the work environment, and initiate action.
Good leadership is crucial to success in the business world. Of course, a capable and effective leader must possess the right qualities. Certain traits are especially common among skilled leaders. Cultivating and developing these traits is a crucial part of becoming a strong leader.
Being a leader is one of most difficult and rewarding positions in the world.
ImportantThere are qualities that are needed to stand out as a great leader. The good news is that each of these leadership attributes, characteristics, and traits can be learned through pigheaded practice and repetition.
Becoming an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an iterative process and requires you to assess your strengths and evaluate who you are. Now it’s your turn!
Individuals don’t have to wait to begin strengthening these characteristics and qualities of a good leader within themselves — you can start today. If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!