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Being a leader that gets results and elevates others is difficult.
Even with an endless stream of leadership tips and tricks on the internet, it's easy to lose sight of the main things being the main things.
The goal of this column is to recenter and refocus your efforts so you can get results without going to get an MBA in Leadership Development. Leadership refresher in session:
The ability to lead a team starts with good, quality, professional relationships built on the bond of mutual trust. George MacDonald said, "to be trusted is a great compliment than being loved." The difference between managers and leaders isn't always what they say. Instead, it's how their actions and behavior build a bond of mutual trust.
In Building the Best, I highlighted the Trust Compound Theory. This states that each team member evaluates how much they trust you based on how you share your competence, show you care, and expose your character.
Traditional thinking says energy comes from results. While this isn't wrong, energy ultimately comes from people. For example, one person can completely change the energy on a team or in a room.
John Wooden famously said, "nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm. Our energy is infectious, whether it's lethargic or enthusiastic is a choice we make each day."
This means the energy you bring as a leader can be positive, negative, or neutral.
People tend to stay in spaces and environments that are comfortable. Thanks to the Amygdala, our brains are naturally wired to avoid risk and harm. Because of this, most leaders play small instead of big. Jim Rohn said, "Most people major in minor things."
I have learned from coaching leaders that bad leaders set goals that are easy to achieve, and instead of raising the standards, they lower them.
Bad leaders set goals that are easy to achieve, and instead of raising the standards, they lower them.
Our eyes are designed to look ahead and focus on what's right in front of us. While this isn't necessarily bad, Dr. Myles Monroe expressed the issue with our eyes as it related to leadership: "The enemy of vision is sight." he continued, "vision is the capacity to see beyond what your eyes can see."
If you are going to transform your leadership, it requires having a vision of a better world that exists today while at the same time acting on what's right in front of you to help get you there.
Great leaders have a vision of a better world that exists today.
Everything big starts small. Once you have that big vision, act small by having a defined set of priorities and accomplishing a finite set of tasks daily.
Research has proven time and time again that player-led teams outperform leader-led teams. Since the purpose of leadership is not to create more followers but to create more leaders, one of the most effective ways to transform your leadership is to randomize leadership responsibilities on your team.
Steve Kerr, the NBA World Championship Coach of the Golden State Warriors, made this approach famous when he insisted his team would handle coaching duties in an NBA game in 2018 (the team won 123-89.)
While Kerr's approach might not work in your particular leadership salutation, here are a few ideas:
Instead of you running your team meeting, have someone else run it.
Instead of coaching team members, have team members pair up and coach each other.
Start a virtual meeting and disconnect on purpose to see who carries the ball forward in your absence.
It is astonishing how many people in leadership positions don't know how their team performs. When pressed in coaching sessions, I hear answers like, "I think we are doing well." It's true, some roles, like a sales manager, have an easier path to measurable metrics, every leader must know how their team is performing.
Every leader must know how their team performs against measurable metrics.
However, you can't stop knowing the numbers because leadership is not all about winning. The late Pat Summit said, "Winning is fun…sure. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point. Never letting up is the point. Never being satisfied with what you have done is the point."
You must know the effort your team is putting in because if you only care about the results, you miss the point of leadership.
If you lead a team or organization, do not go another minute without being clear on why you do what you do and its purpose. As I wrote in Building the Best, "It's easy for people to get lost in the monotony of their everyday work without considering how their work positively impacts other people."
Part of your job as a leader is to stop people from going through the motions and help them to start growing through the motions:
Stop going through the motions and start growing through the motions.
One of the best ways to do this is to be what Pat Lencioni calls a CRO, "Chief Repetition Officer." Constantly remind your team of the core values that guide their behavior and the deeper purpose behind their work. Purpose-driven leaders will not only be more successful long-term than those who aren't; it's a requirement in today's leadership landscape.
Being a leader that gets results and elevates others is difficult. However, if it were easy, everyone would do it. You are just the kind of leader to remake your leadership.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.
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