President, It’s About Leadership, LLC
Leadership is the focus of thousands of books, articles, trainings, and conversations with some of the same key themes about what makes a great leader. It is not about position, title, or power. Leaders can exist at all levels of an organization. Leadership is demonstrated by communication, action, and the art of inspiring others to follow you. These leadership abilities are significant in normal times and are even more critical at this pandemic challenged time when many people feel disconnected and discouraged. Whether you have W-2 employees, contract workers, or volunteers who are critical to the success of your organization, you want them to stay productively engaged and hopeful.
Communication includes both sharing and receiving information and helps to develop trust in you as a leader. Everyone needs to know where the organization is and where it is going if they are going to participate in its success. You may call this a vision, mission, and strategic plan, but have you really shared those with your workforce and had discussions about “the why” as well as “the what” so they understand the importance? Have you gathered some of their input about how any changes will impact their work and listen to their ideas on any adjustments that may be needed? As organizations may have to make dramatic shifts to remain viable coming out of this crisis, you must communicate frequently, be open to new ideas, and demonstrate that you are capable of leading in a strange new world so people will follow you.
We all know that actions speak louder than words, and your workforce watches your actions before they hear your words. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” As a leader, do your own behaviors reflect the behaviors you want to see in your workforce? Do you model the values of your organization in all that you do every day? Do you help your people grow professionally and personally? Do you encourage and inspire them to come up with solutions to problems and innovative ideas and then empower and support them in the implementation? Do you visibly and consistently give credit where credit is due? If you answered yes to these questions, your people know you care, that they can trust you, and they will want to do whatever needs to be done to make the team successful.
Finally, great leaders continually work to improve their own capabilities and the capabilities of their organization and workforce. They assess their leadership performance with input from others to determine their strengths and weaknesses, determine what they need to learn, and set a path to improve their abilities.
What do you need to do differently to BE THE LEADER PEOPLE WANT TO FOLLOW?
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