Foundations of leadership

 

I believe EVERYONE gets one promotion in his or her professional lives. Just one. It is the promotion to a role or position whereby you start to lead and be responsible for other professional people. I don’t care if it is a team of one direct report or a multi-generational team of 3,000. Leading is leading.

Even if you do not have a team yet, that should not stop you from learning about becoming one and practice being a great leader. “Act as if…”

 

So I just went onto Amazon Books and searched “Leadership”. If you guessed that the search results retrieved was exactly 189,561 then you are either a genius or insanely lucky. Regardless... that is quite the number of book results on one word.

This is a topic with obviously a lot to discuss, a topic with tonnes of intricate vocabulary and multi-staged developments and theories.

However, this post is the SIMPLE, EASY and SUSTAINABLE way to approach leadership.

It is my Leadership 101 after all. What is infallible about leadership is its definition on my computer dictionary.

 

[noun] 2. Ability to lead. The ability to guide, direct, or influence people.

 

Another definition that came from one of those 189k books on Amazon: Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.

So yeah, that’s it. Just do that. Easy.

How? Well we can keep that simple too. When it is all said and done, there are three basic things a leader MUST do to be a great guider, director or influencer.

The 101. The core foundation of Leadership made simple. Do these three things with your team and you are golden. The 3 Steps of Leadership 101: Goal; Role; Remind 1. Goal(s) Have them. Share them. Even get your team involved in creating them. To have a great team and be a great leader, you must have a common goal. This could be business wide, team wide or simply for you and them. It can be shared outside the team or just between yourselves. That stuff doesn’t matter, what does matter is having a goal that is relevant and motivating for you and the team.

Yes, it is that simple. 2. Role(s) - to achieve those Goals Each team member has to have a role to achieve this / these goal(s). If they as an individual do not feel relevant toward helping achieve the goal they will not be inspired to follow or contribute. Purpose is one of the most powerful tools a human can have. Give it to your team. This will help with efficiency too. Ensuring the right people have the right tasks to achieve, that the tasks are being done correctly, in the right priority order and that they know what needs to happen before and after their task will also enable them to achieve without you (true leadership sustainability).

3. Remind by communicating updates People need updates, we need reminding of our purpose and we need to know if we are on or off track. Depending on what kind of leader you want to be, you can determine how you want to do this. But the fact remains it needs to be done, constantly and with consistency. If your team members are behind or under-performing, you have to let them know. How you do this depends on the task, the delay and the people involved – but the reality is you have to let them know it is off track. Most team members will know they are behind already (especially if you have done the above two steps) and they will be waiting. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it is one that needs to be had. If they are on track – let them know. Thank them.

Even if this is just ‘doing their job’. Don’t make a big deal out of it, but an email or quick conversation on the odd occasion is great here. If they are ahead of track – recognise this. It doesn’t have to be through a big bonus or reward (well it could, depending on the over-achievement), but it needs to be recognised nonetheless.

Get creative with recognition. It could be an email or presentation simply recognising the person or team in front of the others around. This costs nothing except a minor piece of your time. You could have monthly achievement prizes; shout them for a meal, whatever.

The key here is you are constantly reminding the team of their progress and achievement. Now, do not mistake this simplicity for lack of significance. These three basic, simple and ridiculously easy to do steps is the 101 to becoming a great leader. Yes, there are tonnes of tricks, tips and traits that we could get into, but again, this is the 101. There is a lot more: fun v strict typology, nature vs nurture leadership traits, the plethora of quadrant leadership models, self-direction, motivation, extroversion, fluency or any other leadership buzz words.

They are things that can help you with refinement, but they are not the foundation on which to build your leadership legacy in my opinion. Trust me – do the Goal; Role; Remind and all that other stuff will either come naturally or not matter at all. Happy leadership.

So yeah, that's it. Just do that. It's easy.

 

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