For every good leader I can reference, you can point out 2.5 misleading pop culture leaders and five poor examples that you have encountered in life. It is true, isn’t it? I mean, you probably have pulled out your trusty finger calculators as we speak trying to configure whether or not that is true. (Which is why I created my statistical number under 10 as, yes, I often find myself resorting to using my fingers.)
For me, these numbers are quite correct – and not just because I generated this statistical factoid off the top of my head. As much as I love you, Michael Gary Scott; The Office, NBC your leadership qualities are unorthodox and sorely lacking.
If you are going to be a leader you might as well do it right, and do it right on the first try right? Unfortunately, it is not always that easy. That is probably one of the first lessons a leader will learn: The lesson of humility. So while you are down there in your humble stance, here are a few other ways your employees are seeking out for you to…
• Lead By Example, Not By Exclaiming:
Start by being in the presence of your employees. The mentality of being the first one there, the last to leave is an honest approach to setting a standard of showing up to work and investing in a company with heart and soul. A good leader is never too afraid to get their hands "dirty." They never ask of their employee what they would not do. You celebrate the accomplishments; offer constructive criticism when others would offer destructive criticism. In essence, they will show, not tell. That is leading.
• Lead By Pushing, Not Pulling:
Sometimes you have to get behind your people. There are times your team will not believe in themselves. So if you are pulling them along they cannot see where they are going. You have to get behind them and their dream to help them see and understand their purpose and their power. So sometimes a little kick in the rear is good for the morale!
• Lead By Logic, Not Leverage:
There are moments when it is easier to speak down to people. You are an authority figure, probably have a higher salary figure (if you are cutting their paycheck you should know this) and in the presence of others it is human nature to want to show your dominance and achievements by exuding the charm of a slightly egotistical superior. It is in all of us. Whether we are taller, older, excel academically or athletically - it is how we cope. However, a leader respects the intelligence of their "inferiors" (and I use that term for illustrative purposes) instead of using their superiority as leverage; as a mechanism; a method of manipulation to “motivate” others into doing what needs doing, they use logic. Sit down, have systematic conversations, have performance reviews and find a way to understand each other.
• Lead By Confidence, Not Cowardice:
There will be conflict, and there will be rivalry, there will be times you have to downsize, and there will be times you have to fire without the reason of downsizing. Leadership is about short and long term decisions. It is about living the mission statement and trusting yourself and your instincts. Those around you will take their cue from you and as a leader you cannot hide behind the excuse of, “I want to hear what your thoughts are on this," so as not to have to make an executive decision. It is about responsibility, taking a vision and confidently and effectively delegating and putting it into action.
So will you? Will you put your vision into action?
It takes gutsy to be a good leader. Do you have what it takes?
-The Green Couch