Each week there are new leadership challenges that every leader faces. They face challenges to succeed and produce desired results for their clients and superiors. Because the demands are so strong, I am always looking at ways to do things better and more effectively. The weekly top 5 leadership posts below give pointers on how to help you, as the leader, succeed in addition to your followers.
Has anyone ever offended you?
Reasons to find offense surround us. Bosses. Employees. Presidential candidates. Religions. Kentucky Wildcat fans.
Offense seems to be an obligation. A natural response to someone else. When we see things that we do not like, we feel we have no choice but to become upset. And express it adamantly.
We view our response as outside of our hands. We are only reacting to others.
When you choose to be offended you must understand that it is a choice within your control. No one can force you to be offended. As leaders, you should grow tough skin and be willing to take criticism. If you get offended every time you receive criticism, you are not cut out for leadership. Leaders must take criticism as an opportunity to learn from past experiences.
There are 7 failures that I believe bring the best improvement opportunities:
- Failure to Prioritize – Many a bad decision has come from our lack of perspective on the importance of one thing over another…
- Failure to Decide – If the buck is going to stop with us, then we need the courage to make timely decisions, regardless of consensus or the lack of 100% of the information needed to make them…
- Failure to Progress – When a target is reached, the bar must be raised…
- Failure to Praise – Great talent needs to be nurtured and retained, in a manner that goes well beyond the paychecks and bonuses…
- Failure to Trust – When first taking on a leadership role, there’s always a strong “pull” to be involved in every decision, or to want to “sign off” on literally every dollar spent or contract signed…
- Failure to Mediate – Every organization will have conflicts, whether it is person to person, or department to department…
- Failure to Fire – Nobody likes to fire anybody. It’s one of the toughest things a leader will ever do. But when you know in your gut it’s time to cut the cord, cut it.
Failure is great for our personal success. Every great progress has come after many failures. Without failure, we will not progress. In addition, failure has been the mother of many inventions. Failures are painful as we go through them, but the results are almost always good in the long run. We are better and more refined people after we go through failure than we are before it occurs.
1. Demonstrate ownership and a sense of urgency.
2. Be clear on when you will respond.
3. Return calls and emails promptly.
4. Meet face-to-face when possible.
5. Be open, candid, and transparent.
6. Earn trust—don’t ask for it.
7. Follow through with agreements.
8. Admit your mistakes.
9. Restate commitments.
10. Set a good example.
(Dan had thoughts for each point, but I took them out to save space.)
As leaders, your credibility is all you have, so you must maintain it at all cost. There is the old saying that your word is your bond and once you lose that, you have nothing left. You are also accountable for your credibility because it is something within your control. Your credibility is based on the choices you make and whether or not you follow through. If you fail to maintain your credibility, you will fail as a leader.
John C Maxwell once said, “Leadership is Influence”. It’s a very simple statement and one that has oft been repeated. It is also a statement that, while short on words, is long on implication, deep on meaning and wide on interpretation. So I thought I would have a look at it and maybe noodle around with it a bit here.
To be clear, Leadership through influence is not a topic that can be discussed to anyone’s satisfaction through one blog post, or even a thousand. It is an ongoing leadership preoccupation.
This post is a great post because it gives some great recommendations for gaining leadership influence. Each person decides what they will do and when they will do it, but they are greatly influenced by those they choose to listen to and follow. One important aspect of influence is that you must obtain it through sincerity. You can’t gain influence through fake actions.
The process of leadership flourishes when people assume responsibility for the choice to pursue substantive changes that enhance a shared purpose. This process is potent when its participants have hope – the belief that one knows how to perform and is willing to direct and sustain consistent effort to accomplish goals that matter. Hope requires three steps from leadership:
1. Help identifying meaningful goals that really matter
2. Help understanding what it takes to achieve those goals
3. Encouragement to assume responsibility for investing effort