By Connie Podesta, Business Motivational Speaker, and Human Behavior Expert
There are a LOT of leaders who come into their position waving their “I’m the boss” flag like gangbusters. You know the type. Hit everyone with new rules. New ideas. New ways. Grand proclamations about being IN CHARGE! Start marking territory. Um… psychologically speaking? That’s the fastest way to send your team upside down and underground awaiting your fall from grace.
Here’s a leadership hack for you: START by LISTENING. What? How novel! When people feel like they are being HEARD and SEEN? They’ll go to the mat for you. When they feel like you’re truly interested in what they have to say and how you can make EVERYONE (not just you) more successful? By removing obstacles? Mentoring them through weaknesses? Helping them leverage their strengths? They’ll line up to collaborate. Get creative. Strategize. Do the work.
Over the past 25 years I’ve worked with thousands of leaders and remind them each and every time that, in the end, the measure of your leadership ability will not be about how great you lead (or think you lead), but how WILLING others are to follow you, believe in you, trust you, and support you.
To do great things, teams must be both WILLING and ABLE to do their job way beyond what’s expected. Great leaders understand they must first create, then nurture an environment founded on respect and trust so their teams are WILLING to follow them. Then, their next goal is to teach, train, mentor, coach, and educate others HOW to be successful.
That’s hard to do if you’re not listening. If you’re not paying attention. If you’re not involved in what is and is not happening. And certainly, if you’re sitting in an ivory tower of an office not communicating with your team members.
If you’ve been a bark first, ask questions later type of leader? Right about now you need a mind shift. And a behavior shift. And an attitude shift. And a “get so far out of the box you can’t even see it anymore” shift. Your job is not REALLY about paper work. Or budgets. Or inventory. Or boring meetings. Sure, they are part of business – but just a small part of LEADING. No, that’s about helping OTHERS unleash their own talents. It’s about supporting change. Nurturing responsiveness and collaboration. Giving people a forum to share new ideas and get innovative in finding solutions. That’s where the magic happens.
The truth is, as leaders you can’t teach others HOW to be successful. But you sure can model it. Live it. Encourage courage. Look for it in others and fuel it. Define expectations. Set boundaries. And cultivate creativity.
When you do, your team members will duplicate those values. They’ll absorb that energy. They’ll model the leadership that you are modeling. They’ll rise to their potential. And you? Will be a leader who can take your team however far and fast as you’d like to go.
Want to learn more leadership hacks and how-tos? Contact me today about bringing Leadership Like You’ve Never Heard Before to YOUR next event.