Billy walked into the Jason’s office with several questions. In one week he would take the reigns and run the organization. He would be the new CEO. Jason was stepping down.
This was his last opportunity to speak with the outgoing CEO before the transition. Billy relaxed. He wanted to remember everything. He wanted to give the CEO as much time as possible to answer each question thoroughly.
Jason entered the office and gave Billy one piece of paper. “Billy, I want you to write down the 12 things I’m about to tell you.”
“When we are done, I want you to file these 12 leadership insights away. Reflect on them several times a year. These will be your foundation. Everything you do will always come back to these 12 things.”
“The first insight is….”
People and People
Without great people leaders are nothing. The people you lead are why you lead. It’s not an either or thing.
Leadership is about your people. Turn around often. Look. If you don’t see people following you are not leading.
Right and Wrong
Focus on catching people doing things right. Accentuate the positive. What behaviors do you want repeated? Go find people doing those things and reward them. Tell them thank you. Write them a note. Do it in front of their peers.
Be a values driven leader. Have a purpose other than our profit maximization. Profit is great, but it needs to be a result of our higher purpose. Live the values of the organization. Model them. Don’t sacrifice them for anything.
- Take care of your people first.
- They will take care of our customers.
- Be driven by serving rather than being served.
- Earn respect and trust – forget power and authority.
- Be positive – crawl before you walk, walk before you dance.
Do this every day.
Try These Out
- Be a visionary leader – set high standards for your people and yourself?
- Communicate our vision – lead by example – talk about the vision all the time.
- Implement your plan – day by day.
- Practice humility – give credit to others for success and take responsibility for failures.
- Grow and develop other leaders – care about other people enough to make them better.
- Be a great listener – care even more.
- Empower your people - Let them bring their brains to work. Let them make decisions. Let them fail. Let the values of the organization guide their decisions not fear.
Today and Next Year
Here’s the difference:
- What you learn – the books you read.
- The relationships you build – the people you meet.
- The goals you set – the dreams you dream.
All great leaders have these in common:
- Trust – their people trust them, you will have to earn this, it won’t be given to you.
- Commitment to a higher purpose.
- Care about their people and the organization more than themselves.
- Success – $
- Significance – helping others succeed.
One lasts for the month, quarter or year. The other a lifetime. Choose significance and make a difference.
If you want to be popular, don’t take this job. It’s not popular. Tough decisions are not always popular. The right decisions are not always popular. They are certainly not easy. Your job isn’t for people to like you. It’s to make the organization and our people better today, tomorrow and next year. Popularity sits at the top of the chart.
Flip the pyramid and choose leadership over popularity.
Learn why other leaders are successful. Read. Read again. Read some more. Work on your self-development. Be better tomorrow than you were today. Be better today than you were yesterday.
Soak everything up.
What’s in A Name?
Focus on making people better. Titles are handed out from above. Leaders come from below. Serving. Washing feet and getting things done.
Titles are for business cards. Most wind up in a desk drawer.
Have A Story
Learn to tell (communicate) our story. You must be able to communicate the organization’s vision for success. What does it look like? What does success look and feel like? Communicate a day-to-day plan. People need to know you care and resonate with your story.
“That’s it Billy. Always come back to these 12 insights. Most problems or issues you have will eventually lead back to one of these insights.”
Billy left the office. None of his questions were answered but he realized every question he wanted to ask came back to the 12 insights.
What other insights would you add to this list?