The topic of leadership has been coming up recently in conversations with clients and at conferences and workshops.
Sometimes it’s a straight question – “what are the characteristics of a good leader?” “How do I do that?”
However, more often the questions are around a particular situation:
- I have a team member who has fallen off the bus – how do I get them back on?
- I have a full team who are looking to me for guidance but I don’t know where to start because I’m overwhelmed
- Two of my team members are at loggerheads and it’s affecting the morale of everyone else – how do I stop this?
- I have more than one location – and I’m noticing that when the cat is away, the mice play – how do I lead remotely?
When I’m presenting on leadership, my ritual is to describe the 5 main characteristics as:
- Holding the vision
- Living as an example of standards of performance and behaviour that you want to see
- Creating environments (in which some people choose to become self-motivated)
- Understanding what makes people tick
- Delegating effectively
There’s a much simpler way to answer the question “what is leadership?”
Leadership is the effect that you have on other people.
It strikes me that, even though my 5 characteristics of a good leader are all significant, the one that doesn’t just stand out – it shouts out – is “living as an example of the standards of performance and behaviour that you want to see.”
So be ready – leadership is a tough call.
All day, every day – every friend, family member, work colleague, supplier, client/customer/patient, every taxi driver and hotel waiter, the person standing next to you in a queue.
The effect that you have on these people – that’s leadership.
Apply some survival training here and use “the three-second rule” – think before you speak or act – think about the effect that what you are about to say or do is going to have on those around you.
If you make sure that effect is a positive one – de facto – you are a leader for good.
When you live your life as an example of the standards of performance and behaviour that you expect from others:
- you can call out the recalcitrant team member and request change or departure
- you can start leading a team simply by showing up
- you can ask those in conflict to cease and desist
- you can create environments in which other leaders will emerge to mind your shops
Happy Friday – I’m in Dublin to present my third workshop of the week – and yet again I’ll be ever-mindful of the effect I’m having on those around me.