True leadership is hard to find. There I said it. But it’s true. Too many “leaders” think it’s about their title or stature. Too many “leaders” believe that managing tasks is the only thing that needs to be done. Too many “leaders” spend way too much time putting out fires themselves instead of delegating. Too many “leaders” think they are too busy.
There are a few things that one must do in order to truly L.E.A.D. Ironically enough, the word LEAD is a great acronym for those things. So let’s go through L.E.A.D.
Learn. True leaders are always learning. They read voraciously. They attend workshops and conferences. They participate in webinars and roundtables. The most effective leaders in the history of the world were all students of knowledge. If you want to truly lead, you must become a student again. You must understand that you don’t already know everything and there is always room for improvement. You must seek to understand rather than be understood. You must learn.
Educate. True leaders know that one of their most important jobs is to educate the people who work for them. And it must go beyond telling people about product features. True leaders know that training and professional development opportunities motivate people to work harder, be more productive and work smarter. As Sir Richard Branson says, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” You must understand, acknowledge, and respect the power of education and instruction.
Adapt. True leaders know that they must adapt to ever-changing circumstances. The market environment is fluid – it ebbs and flows. So too does the work environment. True leaders know that plans will need to be modified from time to time and that they should be prepared to give a little leeway once in a while. True leaders know that making excuses to avoid getting out of their comfort zones is a sure road to nowhere. You must adapt to the circumstances around you.
Decide. True leaders decide. Yes or no. Leaders are expected to make decisions and then stand by those decisions. True leaders don’t kick the can down the road. They don’t make excuses for indecision. They don’t blame others if a decision ends up being the wrong one. True leaders gather all of the facts, hear opinions, perform due diligence, and then they make a decision. You must become a decision-driven leader.
Obviously this just scratches the surface. What are some other things that true leaders do? Comment below to get the conversation started.