On Twitter, I often participate in a virtual discussion about leadership. Through that, I’ve been asked to write a blog post sharing my views on leadership, in conjunction with the release of a new book, One Piece of Paper. The idea behind the book is that leaders need to simplify their philosophies – distilling it down to a one-page, easy-to-implement document. With that in mind, here are my top eight views on leadership:
1. Leadership is a choice: A leader has to believe in the goal at hand. He (or she) must emotionally commit to the goal, and believe in the effort and sacrifice required to achieve it.
2. Leadership is knowing what you don’t know: Leaders don’t have to be all-knowing. To the contrary, the best leaders know when and how to build a team – a team that knows more than he does. The leader’s responsibility to give that group the tools and resources needed to succeed.
3. Leadership is commitment to continual self-education: Leaders need to continue to grow, both professionally and personally, and promote continual education to the team by providing them with the necessary resources. This ensures that the team is up to speed with the latest trends, tactics and tools, while also building trust. It shows that you truly believe your team members are the key to the company’s success.
4. Leadership is creativity: A strong leader will encourage their team to think creatively; creativity leads to innovation, and innovation will set you apart from your competition. Whether it’s a new business process, a new way to communicate, a new tool to increase efficiency or a new way to serve our customers, creativity is key.
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5. Leadership requires drive: Leading is not easy, it’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not a 9 to 5 gig. In fact, most will say it’s a 24/7 thing. It is not only the way you work, but how you live your life: it is always striving to be your best –for you, your family and your team.
6. Leadership requires courage: Courage comes into play on a daily basis when leading. Courage is needed when making decisions – short term or long term – that affect the business, the culture and the overall well being of the company, employees and ultimately their families. Sometimes all you have to go on is gut, and that’s where courage comes in. Leaders make bad/wrong decisions all the time. The key is to own up to them and to explain why the decision was made and what steps will be taken in the future to avoid that same mistake.
7. Leadership is a culture: Culture has to come from the top, down. It is a company’s leaders’ responsibility to promote a culture of empowerment, passion, transparency and trust. The culture and the brand are the people, and it’s those people who sustain the company’s relationships.
8. The best leadership is servant leadership: I believe servant leadership is the most effective and most rewarding way to lead. I know in my heart that I am there to serve, whether it’s my team, my company, my family, my church or my country. I am truly blessed in life – I have a loving wife, two beautiful children and the opportunity to lead a talented group of people. It is my key responsibility is to do whatever I can to help each of them grow personally and professionally, and to give them the resources they require to be successful not only in their day-to-day work responsibilities, but in accomplishing their dreams as well. Passionate leadership is about serving, not only in the workplace, but most importantly, in life.
This post originated at Madison Electric Products.