Here are a few things we know about leadership – it is important, but it is also complex and confusing. When you put those things together, sometimes we make it even more complex – which doesn’t help us. So, let’s step back and clarify what leadership requires as a starting point by creating an acrostic, using the letters in the word “leadership.” Literally, this is leadership by the letters.
L isten. You can’t lead effectively for very long without listening to people for their ideas and input. Plus when you listen – really listen – you show people that you care about them. Few things will take you further as a leader than being a consistently great listener.
E xpectations. Clear expectations are the foundation of success in work. When people know what is expected, a benchmark for success is created. Leaders must be clear about what they are and diligently work to make them clear with individuals and the entire team.
A ccountability. Once clear expectations exist, accountability can be created (you can’t have one without the other). The best leaders help people take ownership of that work and actions, which leads to strong accountability.
D evelop others. Effective leadership requires coaching others to reach both what is expected and what is possible.
E ncourage others. Leading others means sometimes sharing a difficult message about performance. But it also means encouraging others. The best leaders have both high expectations and a high level of belief in people’s ability to succeed. When both are true, we will be an encourager.
R elationship builder. People want to follow people that they know, like, and trust. The best leaders consistently work to build and nurture relationships with our teams, colleagues, customers and more.
S upport change. Leadership is about change. If everything were perfect (and no change was needed), what would be the role of a leader? When people see their leader in support of a change, they are far more likely to change themselves.
H umility. There is plenty of power that comes with the role of leader, and so ego can become a barrier. The best leaders are confident, but humble enough to know they don’t have all the answer and can’t do it alone.
I nfluence. Leadership is about reaching valuable outcomes with and through others. Once you realize that you know that everything a leader does requires influence.
P rovide direction. Where are we going? Whether it is a vision or mission, or a goal or objective, without direction there is no place to lead to. Effective leaders provide a clear picture of a destination.
You could pick different words for any of the letters – I have a page of scribbles that led to the list above. (The toughest decision was the L – should it be listen or learn? This is the only time I’ve wished leadership was spelled with 2 L’s.) While the list is incomplete given something as complex as leadership, the list is instructive. You can read the list and nod, or you can use it to help you lead more effectively. Here is just one way you could use this list:
Focus on one attribute each week, consciously working to improve in that area.
If you made that single decision and followed through on it, how long do you think it would take for you to be a more effective leader?
If you want to be a more effective and intentional leader, you need regular input and intentional learning. But you might not have time or ability to attend a traditional workshop. What if you could get targeted skill development from a trusted source, that you could complete at your own pace and based on your interest/need? That is exactly why we created Remarkable Master Classes. Learn more about the approach, format, and the list of currently available skills here.