Good leaders don’t create followers – they create more leaders.
This is the mantra that I live and breathe by – and keeping this simple phrase at the top of mind every day is what sets truly great leaders apart from the rest.
Being a manager is hard work – being an effective leader is even harder.
First off – most of us just aren’t born with the natural ability to lead, influence and direct others. This is a skill that great leaders often develop over long periods of time.
Second – sometimes it’s just really damn hard to be responsible for our own actions – so how the hell are we supposed to manage the behaviors and actions of other people?
When you’re responsible for leading and motivating a team to accomplish major business goals and get stuff done – you need a better way.
The good news is there is a simple, stress free approach to leadership that you can take that will help you get shit done faster while building a motivated, happy and productive team in the process.
So let’s get to it:
REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS
If you are a first time manager, the responsibilities of leading a team can feel like a daunting task – a massive weight on your shoulders. If you’ve been a manager for a while, you know exactly how hard each day can be.
Having a group of people to look after is enough to intimidate most people – as you are not only responsible for your own goals and behaviors – but the achievements and behaviors of others.
To make matters worse, many first-time managers are thrown into their role with little training – and as a result they’re forced to learn through trial and error (can you say frustrating?!).
Most first-timers even make the dangerous mistake of trying to rule with an iron fist – because they think this is how a leader is supposed to behave.
They are dead wrong!
Stop for a minute and think about how you felt as an employee. Think about the last great manager you had. What behaviors did they display? How did they treat others in times of stress?
I’m pretty sure if you think back to your own experiences and your favorite boss – he or she wasn’t the winner of last year’s ‘Jerk of the Century’ award.
They didn’t bark orders and they didn’t place unrealistic demands on their teams. So why would you?
BE A STRAIGHT SHOOTER
In other words, don’t be a liar, a cheat or a workplace politician.
Great managers share everything with their teams – the good, the bad and the ‘slap you with a wooden stick’ ugly. Great leaders also steer clear of sugarcoating issues, hiding important details and spinning situations to make them appear in a better light.
Give your people a break – tell them the truth and trust them to help.
By trusting your team members enough to shoot them straight with the truth (even if it’s not the best of news), you’ll inspire your team members and other leaders around you to be equally as direct and honest.
Over time, leading this way will help you to build a culture of openness, honesty and transparency in your organization.
This type of culture is what leads businesses (and their leaders) to ultimate success.
ACT LIKE A GROWN UP
Listen – I get it. It’s hard to always maintain a professional stance when sometimes all you want to do is throw yourself down on the floor kicking and screaming (or worse – punch someone in the face).
I have those moments too.
But when you raise up your leadership level and exhibit a level of professional maturity higher than others, you’ll gain the respect and sincere admiration of those around you.
In addition, you’ll help to shift your company’s overall culture to one where respect and positive behaviors are the norm.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
HELP OTHERS TO BE SUCCESSFUL
You have the power to put the right people in the right jobs – so do it.
Great leaders have a drive to see other people be successful. That may mean being successful on your team, or it may mean being successful somewhere else. Either way you’ll have a victory.
This is because as a leader who supports the growth and development of others, you will naturally begin to accumulate bucket loads of unsolicited, high quality resumes of people who will want to work for you.
Why is that? Because referrals are our greatest source of talent – and if you have top talent as your sideline cheerleaders – you’ll be able to attract even stronger players to the game. Now that’s some nice karma!
So, next time you are trying to fit a square peg employee into a round holed position – try and take a step back.
Figure out what the team member’s strengths are, what their career aspirations are – and help them find a job in which they can excel.
By doing this you’ll create a grateful, future leader for life.
LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Before you start throwing punches at anyone – the first person you need to check with is the person in the mirror.
I know countless “leaders” that have absolutely no clue that they are behaving poorly. And when they are scary enough, who the hell wants to be brave enough to tell them?
We need some self-awareness here.
As a good leader, you should always be aware of your own disposition and how others are perceiving your actions. This is especially important in the heat of battle when pressures are high and tensions are thick.
Your actions have the power to impact those around you. So next time blame is going around and your defenses are up, before you speak remember the old saying – check yourself before you wreck yourself.
DON’T SHAME PUBLICLY
This one should probably come first. Coming from HR (and the planet Earth), this one KILLS me.
The rule here is really, really simple. DO NOT EVER (ever, ever, ever) publicly shame, embarrass, scold or yell at one of your team members.
We all make mistakes but these conversations are better left for behind closed doors. You will get farther with your team if you show them respect during challenging times than you will by belittling them in a public setting.
So what’s the rule again? Just don’t do it!
If you love these tips and want to learn more about how YOU can be a great leader and get ahead in business AND in life – check out the full ‘Quick Guide to Becoming a Great Leader’ here.