| By Bill Gilliland |
Leadership takes many forms. In any position within a business we are called to be leaders. As a business owner, your responsibility is to lead your team, and to develop leaders within your organization. As a manager or supervisor you are also called to lead your team. If you do not manage or lead others, you can still utilize and develop leadership skills and become a leader in your field.
As a business coach, I work with hundreds of business owners every year. Most are looking to develop themselves, and their teams, to become great leaders – leaders of people, leaders in their industry, and leaders in our community. I have found that when people respect you as a leader, they observe what you do so they can determine who you really are. People then use this observation to tell if you are an honorable and trustworthy leader, or a self-serving person who misuses authority.
A good leader has an honorable character and selflessly serves his/her organization. In your employees’ eyes, your leadership is everything. Your activities affect their well-being and the organization’s objectives. As an employee, you will be recognized for having those characteristics your organization values.
A respected leader will concentrate on three key areas:
1. Be – what he/she is (beliefs and values)
2. Know – what he/she knows (job, tasks, human nature)
3. Do – what he/she does (implement, motivate, and provide direction)
What makes your team want to follow you? People want to be guided by someone they respect who has a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, you must be ethical. Your sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.
The Three Most Important Traits of Great Leaders:
Studies have shown that trust and confidence in top leadership is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization. Trust and confidence are created by leaders who utilize effective communication in three critical areas, and involves:
1. Ensuring employees understand the company’s overall business strategy.
2. Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives.
3. Communicating information with employees on how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division or department is doing – relative to strategic business objectives.
You must be trustworthy and be able to communicate a vision of where you are going. ActionCoach has defined 10 Principle of Leadership. I use these with my coaching clients. Many have found that striving to improve one or all of these principles helps to become a trusted leader in your organization, no matter what your individual role. ActionCoach’s Brad Sugars’ has defined what leadership is on his YouTube video “Be, Do, Have.”
ActionCoach – 10 Principles of Leadership:
1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement. In order to know yourself, you have to understand your “be, know, and do” attributes. This is possible by continually strengthening those attributes through reading and self-study.
2. Be technically proficient. As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your teams’ jobs.
3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, do not blame others.
4. Make sound and timely decisions. Use good problem-solving, decision-making, and planning tools.
5. Set the example. Be a good role model for your team. They will believe what they see – not what they hear.
6. Know your people and look out for their well-being. Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your team.
7. Keep your people informed. Know how to communicate with your team, seniors, and key people within the organization.
8. Develop a sense of accountability, ownership and responsibility in your team. These traits will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.
9. Ensure tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished. Communication is the key to this responsibility.
10. Train your people as a team. By developing team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities. Be a team player.
If you are working on strengthening your leadership skills, try these seven phrases; using them in your workplace can make the difference between being a trusted leader or being a roadblock in your organization.
Encourage the heart – Share the glory with your followers’ hearts, keep the pains in your heart – Human Relations:
The six most important words:
“I admit I made a mistake.”
The five most important words:
“You did a good job.”
The four most important words:
“What is your opinion?”
The three most important words:
“If you please.”
The two most important words:
The one most important word: “We”
The least important word: “I”