There is so much information online about how to be a great leader, what you should and should not do as your role as head of the team, how best to lead, what the really fantastic leaders of out time have done to get where they are. I know because I think I’ve probably read most of them.
Why should I adopt a continuous learning strategy?
Why I hear you say would you need to read more about leadership? Firstly, you should never stop learning – be the sponge, keep soaking up life experiences and read as much as you can to continuously be learning, try test and use those tools that work in your environment and change as you need to grow.
Secondly, be strong and know who you are. I spent years being told I was a bad manager and a negative leader by a fellow Director who clearly had confidence issues and needed to ensure everyone around him boosted his ego – and yes he was also touched with “The Napoleon complex” more widely known as short man syndrome!. If I had been the type of person who didn’t really know my own mind I could have been bullied into believing this. I wasn’t that person which is why I feel I can offer my experiences to really help anyone that may be questioning themselves.
Although I knew deep down this wasn’t the case I have continued to always be learning and bettering my skills to make sure this never happens! The key thing that I have learnt is that true leaders are all about passion, the passion and belief they have in what ever they are trying to do, their conviction to achieving results, their connection with their teams to help them get there and the way in which they can see the talents, the confidence and the areas that they can help train in their teams, working together as part of the team rather than shouting orders whilst banging their ‘management’ drum.
The Traits that Leaders have different to Non-Leaders?
- Honesty – Whatever you believe and where ever your ethics sit, it’s really important to raise that bar even higher. your business and your team are a reflection of your, and if you make honest and ethical behaviour a key value, your team will follow suit.
- Optimism – Leaders see the positive in things – they have to – it’s the key to pushing things forward. Realistic Optimism is essential seeing a preferred future and envisioning a path to make it a reality – despite obstacles.
- Judgment – Essential – the best leaders have the ability to make good decisions – even when they don’t really have the right information. Making sense of the decisions you need to make and making that call is the all-important trigger that stands you ahead of the team.
- Confidence – When times get tough your confidence will be called into action, the most important thing it to not panic and remain confident. Part of your role as a leader is to put fires out, maintain team morale and keep your confidence levels high. Set backs are a natural pattern in business. Confidence is a true trait of a leader.
- Ownership – Great leaders are always willing to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their team.
- Initiative – You should always be known for being proactive and willingness to act – Most leaders will also be the first to act in situations.
- Courage – Business and management is tough. To lead well requires bold decisions, decisive decisions – to stand alone if necessary. Courage is your key to success and to show your team exactly where you are coming from through thick and thin.
- Servanthood – I know you may find this hard to believe but great leaders are motivated from the heart and that heart wants to serve. They want to serve the business, teams, customers and stakeholders.
- Creativity – Great leaders can be creative with their decisions – some aren’t as clear-cut and you have to be creative to get what you need, ideas that can help and all on the fly
- Commitment – If you are in business then this is a no-brainer you have to be committed otherwise your business will be going nowhere fast. lead by example, don’t ask any of your team to do things that you would not be prepared to do yourself. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role you will gain respect from your team and show them by example exactly whats expected.
Be strong, changes take time, stick to your passion, your belief and your convictions but be real and continue to question the best and most effective way to work with you team, if ideas don’t work then rewrite them, evolve them and make it happen! Think about how you want your leaders to be and emulate those ideas.. Get out there and become the leader you have always wanted to be.
With this in mind I want to give you some of the useful sites, blogs and content that could be useful to you in your leadership training.
- The iceberg metaphor – This is a really useful learning tool you can read more about cultural kinetics here – this uses the metaphor to show 10% above the water line represents the skills of the leader and the 90% below represents their character.
- Peter Drucker famously stated that “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Great leaders possess dazzling social intelligence, a zest for change, and above all, vision that allows them to set their sights on the “things” that truly merit attention”. Not a bad skill set for the rest of us, either. A great interview with Peter can be found here.
- Transformational Leadership – read more about it here
- If its Leadership Theories you are after then you can find out more here
- Leadership in the workplace – Wiki-how has a great slide show here
- Communication Secrets for Great Leaders – Read all about it here
- Orbiting the Hairball – a great book you can get more information here
I’d love to hear more about the online resources, books and blogs that you have read that have really helped you in your role as leader.