Leadership is hard, but it’s not complicated. I think we often try to make it too complex because we tell ourselves that leaders must possess some sort of esoteric knowledge in order to be worthy of a leadership role. While knowledge is important, leaders must possess a lot more than just knowledge. They must be able to connect with people.
Ever had a leader that did not connect with you, either intentionally or unintentionally? How did that make you feel? Probably not valued or inspired. Conversely, the leader who genuinely connects with people creates an environment where people feel valued and want to give their best.
Each day you have a choice as to how you are going to lead. If you want to do a better job of connecting with people, and in the process create a healthier and more productive work environment, follow these five leadership rules:
1) Be authentic – be yourself … acknowledge that you do have weaknesses, and you do not have all of the answers. People want to follow leaders who act like they’re human.
2) Take decisive action – move something forward–today. Maybe it’s a small task, big project, or an important conversation you’ve been putting off. The key is to act (talk is cheap).
3) Elevate others – make people better by encouraging them, coaching them, and developing them. Don’t be too busy to invest in others–keep your plate clean for people.
4) Influence positive change – decide that you will use your influence to have a positive impact on the behavior, thinking, or development of another person. Use your influence wisely and responsibly.
5) Serve people – leading is not about you–it’s about others (hopefully this isn’t a surprise to you). Make the conscious choice to serve someone today through your attitude and actions.
In order to become a more effective leader, I am striving to live by these leadership rules on a daily basis. Although I know that I won’t always live up to them, I believe that attempting to fulfill them will not only make me a better leader, but will also help me develop a stronger team and a healthier organization.
I hope that you will either utilize these rules to help improve your leadership, or create a list of your own. Focus on doing a few things really well every day, and over time you will see a significant difference. And in the process, you will connect with people like never before.
“If you want to be the best leader you can possibly be, no matter how much or how little natural leadership talent you possess, you need to become a serving leader.” John Maxwell
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” Max DePree
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” Peter Drucker