How To Be A Leader
To answer the question how can I become a leader, it’s important for us to begin with an understanding of what makes a leader, and indeed what makes a great leader?
I recently met Dr Stephen Covey, world renowned expert on personal development and author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. His definition of leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
Some of you have asked whether leadership is a choice not a position.
Because of the definition of leadership, the ability to become such a leader is a choice that any person can make; any parent or grandparent, any teacher, any coach, any co-worker, and friend. When Dr Covey speaks throughout the world, he often asks audiences:
“How many of you had someone in your life that communicated your worth and potential so clearly that it profoundly influenced your life?”
Inevitably over half the people raise their hands. He walks around the room and asks them to share their experience with how it happened, who did it, the impact that it had upon them, and if they, too, are making the choice to do the same with other people. People often become very emotional when they talk about the parent, the coach, the teacher, the formal leader, the friend, the neighbour, or the relative who really became very close to them and communicated to them their worth and potential. This is always an inspiring experience.
So, is there a formula for becoming such a leader?
From all my research I believe there is such a formula. They are what I will list as the five imperatives of leadership.
In order to fully understand how to be a leader, you must first make time to train yourself in both the art and science of leadership. There are fundamental principles upon which you can develop leadership skills, but you need to know what they are and how to employ them to best effect. The world (and the people within it) is also constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up to date with leadership innovation in order to adapt. Self-development is the key to learning how to be a leader and unlocking the potential within you. This is the cornerstone to your future success.
Action: Bookmark Leadership-Expert.co.uk now, subscribe and place a recurring appointment in your diary to allow just half an hour per week to read, learn and apply all the great tips, techniques and tools I will give you.
The second is to inspire trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.
Action: Ask yourself is ‘trust’ one of your core values? If so, consider who in your team you need to be more trusting of. Find out what motivates them. What can you trust them with by delegating or giving them greater responsibility?
The third is to clarify purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important—mission, vision, values, and goals.
Action: Ask yourself “More often than not, do I communicate at my team, rather than engage with them?” Think about how you like to be involved and consider how you can engender that ethos in all your dealings with your team. Do you hold regular ‘short’ team meetings focusing on involving your team in setting parameters and guidelines to bring to life ‘mission, vision, values and goals’? Many teams I’ve met don’t even know what these are.
The forth is to align systems. This means that you don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure. For instance, many times organisations claim that people are important but in fact the structures and systems, including accounting, make them an expense or cost centre rather than an asset and the most significant resource.
Action: Consider what systems you and the organisation has in place to recognise and reward people’s efforts. Create a simple reward system. For example, the CEO of a company I recently coached, decided to rule out just half an hour every Friday afternoon to phone 3 people in the company who turned in a great weeks performance, or where he had been ‘tipped off’ that they had gone the extra mile for a client/the company. Word soon got round, productivity went up and he eventually found himself phoning up to 10 people every Friday afternoon, because what he had inadvertently created was the beginnings of a high performance, high value culture.
The fifth is the fruit of the other three—unleashed talent. When you inspire trust and share a common purpose with aligned systems, you empower people. Their talent is unleashed so that their capacity, their intelligence, their creativity, and their resourcefulness is utilized.
I would add that these are based upon principles that build upon each other rather than techniques or steps that have to be taken independent of each other. These aren’t “management tricks” but real principles that guide a true leaders character.
Action: Consider what you can do differently from today to unleash the talent of your team.
The world is vastly different today and ever-changing. If we can develop leaders who can withstand and embrace the changing times by deeply rooting themselves in these principles of great leadership, then we can develop great people, great teams and great results.
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