As I’ve noted in this space many times before, I love practicing and studying the art of leadership.
In my 27 years in the business world, I’ve been fortunate enough to observe great (and not so great) leaders, read many books about leadership, and gain many years of experience as a leader myself.
Through all this I’ve walked away with a ton of lessons about what makes a great leader, and I’ve enjoyed writing about many of them on this blog.
But 10 of them are my favorite leadership lessons – the ones that have “stuck” with me and are now a part of my daily practice. The ones that I believe are critical to excellence in leadership.
I present them in more detail below, and I invite you to dig a little deeper and click through to my original post on each lesson. After you do, let me know what you think, and if they resonate with you. Let’s keep learning together!
- Practice “Full Spectrum” management, where high performers get the recognition they deserve, AND underperformers either get coached or let go.
- Teach instead of just tell, by using repetition, consistency, plain English, common sense, and best of all, rolling up the sleeves and showing them how it’s done.
- Be an Enabler, not a Disabler, because if we can’t entrust someone with proper responsibilities commensurate with the job description, we simply shouldn’t hire them.
- Develop a Zen-like mantra of goals that permeate the minds of all your teammates, and watch great stuff happen.
- Avoid inertia at all costs – or risk heading in the wrong direction. Provide the needed acceleration to propel a business forward, always.
- Trust the facts, for if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. As John Adams said, they are indeed “stubborn things”
- Understand that words alone don’t make the leader- proper presentation, attitude, inflection, cadence and structure are musts to inspire to action.
- Exhibit a blend of will and humility – we push hard knowing we don’t have all the answers, with a sense of decency, fairness and mindfulness.
- Know “the secret of work” for their team – the passion, the cause, and the fun that results.
- Be able to mix it up and do the unexpected, like break out in song at a staff meeting. Put in a memorable hook to go with your message.