Leadership is everyone’s business. It’s not just for CEO’s, politicians and senior level employees. Not anymore. The workforce is flat, small and connected. Technology has made the global workforce larger but smaller.
Everyone that chooses to lead can develop leadership skills if you have the passion and desire to do so. If not, follow. But you have to lead yourself. So, no matter what you choose, some aspect of leadership applies.
Leading is about becoming a better person. Everyday. Applying yourself regardless of where you came from. It’s about the relationship between those who lead and those who choose to follow.
More important, the quality of the relationship.
9 Things That Will Give You A Leadership Edge
Everyones A Critic
That’s not necessarily a bad thing for a leader. The difference is a leader needs to be a loving critic. You care but you are willing to give honest feedback. You don’t need to be liked. You kindly, lovingly stick to what is true.
Feedback is good. But brutally honest feedback is great. It leads to growth and development. Trust and respect.
Be a critic but be a loving critic.
Be humble and hungry at the same time. Embrace both concepts. Be humble enough to realize you are no better than those you lead. You are not more important than others.
Stay hungry enough to have a huge impact and make a difference. Don’t get complacent. The status quo is not your friend. Not today, not in the new normal.
“The Genius of AND. Embrace both extremes on a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing , A or B, figure out how to have A and B – humility and hunger (drive and passion), ” Jim Collins, author of Good To Great.
True To The Core
Don’t waiver on your core beliefs and values. Popularity is irrelevant. Get outside your comfort zone. You can’t soften your stance on core values because people will like you.
Under / Over
Most of the time people underestimate the power of a role model. A leader who leads by example. Someone who tries new things. Models the core values.
They overestimate knowledge and technical skills.
Be a role model. Model the behaviors you want. Lead by example. This is the best way to encourage and influence others.
Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
You need to be comfortable with your weaknesses. Be vulnerable. Acknowledge it when you need help. Throw your pride out the window.
Admit you don’t know everything. Everyone else already knows it.
Stay Close To Those Who Are Close
Think about who you really influence. Those who are closest to you. Your family. Your friends. People at work and church. The people you know well and who know you well.
You are the best leader to those you are closest to. You have influence with them. Stay close to those who are close. Your children. Wife. Friends.
The people who were and are the most influential to you will be those closest to you.
Forget The Rearview Mirror
Leaders are forward looking. They are positive about the future and look well beyond today, tomorrow, next year, five years and longer. You have to think long term.
This is difficult to do in our instant gratification culture. There are no quick-fixes. Leadership takes time and practice. A short-term fixation is not good for leaders.
Talent Alone Is Overrated
Just because someone is talented doesn’t mean they will be a good leader.
A lot of experience doesn’t make you an expert. A lot of deliberate practice over time makes you an expert.
If you are willing to put in the time and learn, you can develop into a leader. Talent alone won’t cut it. A talented athlete that never practices and develops his skill won’t be very good.
Combine talent with deliberate practice over time and you have a professional. Commit to practicing leadership and do it for a long time.
You will be an “overnight” success.
Be A Teacher
The best way to learn something is to teach it. To teach, you have to study and prepare. You have to learn how to tell stories. You help others learn.
When you teach something you are forced to learn it. If you want to learn about leadership, teach it.
Volunteer at work to start a leadership class. Pick a book. Read it and review it with co-workers. Challenge each other. Learn from each other.
Attend a conference together. There is plenty of leadership material on-line. Make sure it aligns with your values and study it. Teach it. Prepare a monthly leadership lesson at work. Don’t worry who gets credit. Just take the initiative and lead it.
Nine things you can do right away.
Choose to lead with an edge!
What else what you add to the list above?