“There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.” -Gandhi
Bosses are insecure. I’ll go ahead and throw that out there. Dictators dictate because they’re afraid of losing power. To be a great, effective leader that inspires and motivates people you have to be open, vulnerable and willing to admit when you’re wrong. Leaders learn and teach, bosses already know it all.
We all know that the corporate arena has greatly changed over the last decade or so, and generally for the better. Having said that, with all of the great changes (work life balance, benefits, and jeans!) we sometimes lose track or what truly matters: Leadership. It’s the one thing that can make or break your company.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams
Lead, don’t rule. The greatest generals in the history of the world never accomplished anything by sitting in a tent and dictating to their men and women. The greatest generals lead the charge into battle. They inspire. Lead your team, be moldable, listen to ideas, be patient, take your time in coaching and learning. This attitude builds trust, and in turn loyalty from your team. Take the fall for mistakes, you are the leader, the figurehead and if someone else on your team messed up, know that it was under your guidance. Again, your team will work harder for you if they can trust you.
Motivate, don’t terrify. No one works well if they’re afraid that at the slightest mistake you’re going to fly off the handle. Lead by example, motivate your team to push the boundary — to create, and ultimately to execute. As a leader, understand that while you’re creating great new things, mistakes will be made. Take them in stride, encourage the process and motivate your team to keep pushing towards innovation and results. No one ever created anything great within a vacuum of fear. Learn from mistakes, and motivate your team to make them!
Establish an environment of equality, not a pyramid of power. Sure, you have more responsibility on your plate, and your years of experience should conjure respect, but if you have to establish a pyramid of power in order for your employees to respect you, you’re doing something horribly wrong. Everyone brings something to the table — sometimes they bring more knowledge to the table than you do. When they feel equal, they become much more open with their ideas which could lead to something great for you and them! In an egalitarian environment, everyone works better.
Ultimately, you and your team are working towards the same goals. They’re helping you achieve your goals and you must help them achieve their goals. Leadership is the greatest tool in your tool box, master the skill and you will be able to achieve anything you dream!
What are your thoughts?