I’ve seen and heard (and written) about a lot of great leadership lessons, but there’s a short list of them that have really “stuck” with me. They’ve since become an essential part of my leadership practice, and my life.
I’m pleased to share these 15 Stickiest Leadership Lessons with you, and hope that you to will find them as sticky as I have.
- “An ounce of demonstration is worth a pound of explanation“ – Emil Liebling. Oddly enough, I found this one in a 100 year-old piano study book.
- Stay away from the “comfortable middle” of the leadership spectrum, where calm reigns but huge dangers lurk.
- Practice Zen and The Art of Modern Management. It IS all about a mantra. I created and used one that was essential to our success.
- Eliminate “can’t” from your vocabulary. It started with a simple poster, that said “it can’t be done, it can’t be done, it can’t be done……..it’s done“. It was the beginning of a long celebration of the art of the possible.
- “Great leadership demands exuberance” If leaders aren’t joyful and excited about the challenges at hand, how can they expect their teammates to be that way?
- “It’s amazing how someone’s IQ seems to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them” – Tim Ferriss. It’s all about enabling our teammates to succeed, by simply trusting them.
- Work needs to be fun, or it isn’t worth doing. I learned this “secret of work” the hard way, but once I did, guess what happened? Fun, AND success.
- The 7 Most Important Words – “I don’t know, but I’ll find out“. All leaders must be able to hear it, and SAY it, to dispel any notions that total knowledge is necessary for success.
- What’s love got to do with leadership? Plenty. Just ask John Wooden. It truly is “the most powerful thing there is”.
- The most important question a leader can EVER answer is “Why?” Context is everything in a workplace. Without it, you’ll have less happy, less motivated, and less productive teammates.
- Never underestimate the importance of non-verbal communication. Leaders need to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk”.
- “Human First, THEN leader”. It’s now my #1 Rule of leadership. We have to keep humanity first, before we can truly inspire and lead.
- For leaders, this is a very dangerous question: “What do you think?“ If you are going to ask for opinions, you better want to hear the answer, or you’ll risk confusing and alienating your teammates.
- “Show The Way”. It’s right in the dictionary, when you look up “lead”. Such a simple and profound way to think of leadership, isn’t it?
- We cannot rely on leadership by osmosis. Don’t assume anything when it comes to making sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to know.