If you are leading a company, a department, a team or a family you know that leadership is challenging. The key in leadership is that you are growing learning and getting better. If your not growing you are going backwards.
As a leader there are some key responsibilities and behaviors that are extremely important to long term success. Here are seven fundamental behaviors that will set you up for success.
- Set and Achieve goals – People that take the time to map out an action plan do much better than those that don’t. Writing down your most important objectives and then listing specific goals to meet that objective is a fundamental leadership behavior. It’s not only setting goals but it’s also achieving them which means you must act on those goals. That’s why it’s important to also set up deadlines and have accountability. Set goals review them regularly and do a progress report every week on how you did last week.
- Continually Innovate and Improve – Another key behavior of successful leaders is that they are always exploring and thinking about how to improve on the current way of doing things. This is a mindset of continuous improvement. How can we be more efficient? How can we streamline and improve systems? Asking those how questions keeps your organization moving forward. I like to say: what can we improve by 1% this week. If this is part of your culture then you should be getting lots of ideas and feedback form your team. Listen, discuss and let the best ideas rise to the top and then make those changes.
- Solve Problems and Make Decisions – Every unachieved goal is a problem waiting to be solved. This is how things get done and keep moving forward. You don’t want to be the bottle neck on your team. That is why you can’t be the only one solving problems and making decisions. Teaching and empowering your team is a key leadership behavior that can accelerate your companies growth and productivity. Leaders are problem solvers not just problem identifiers. Define the problem, identify possible solutions, get some feedback and then make a decision and assign it to someone with a deadline.
- Take Full Responsibility – A leader takes full responsibility for the their decisions and the success and failure of their team. As the leader you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in your company, department, team or family. That can be scary but you can’t lead well if your afraid to take responsibility. Facing your fears and owning mistakes brings credibility and trust to your leadership.
- Be a Good Example or Role Model for Others – This is all about character. Do your actions and your words line up. Are you doing the things you want your team to do? Are you treating people the way you want to be treated? Are you making the difficult decisions and having the difficult conversations? Are you quick to admit a mistake? As a leader people are always watching you. No one is perfect so leading with integrity is not about being perfect it’s about being honest and vulnerable. If you’re a mess then your team will be a mess.
- Persuade and Inspire – A key behavior of successful leaders is the ability to persuade people to buy in to your vision. That takes a combination of good communication, being intentional and repetition. When people trust you and you can clearly articulate the vision you can keep moving in the right direction. Inspiration comes when people have bought into you as the leader and understand the vision and their part in achieving that vision. This also takes self-confidence and believing in the vision and values you have and the message you are trying to communicate.
- Get Results and Don’t make Excuses – If you’re not getting results then you are probably not doing the right things or focused on the right things. When the results are not there you don’t make excuses, you look at what is not working and make the adjustment. You admit mistakes and take responsibility.
There is much more to leadership than just these seven things but these are some of the basics that will set you up for success. Again, the key is that you are growing, learning and changing as a leader.
If your feeling stuck as a leader or organization send me an email and let’s set up a time to discuss next steps in getting unstuck. Email – email@example.com
“Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them.” Winston Churchill
I recently watched the movie Darkest Hour the story about Winston Churchill. It tells the story of the beginning of World War 2 and how Churchill rose to leadership and how he provided leadership at that critical time in history.
I also have recently read the story of Patrick Henry and his part in moving our country to become independent and free.
Both of those men had a character quality that helped them to lead in critical, difficult times. It was boldness. The definition of boldness is “Confidence and courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances or others’ opinions.”
Winston Churchill was willing to take great risks and even fail because he believed he was doing what was right and best for his country. Many people around him criticized and questioned most of his decisions, yet he continued to stay the course and boldly stand firm. There were moments of questioning himself and dealing with fear directly. However, he did not allow the fear to paralyze him, he talked to different people to get new perspectives when his inner circle began to crumble.
Patrick Henry also showed great boldness as one of the first people to openly speak out against England and the oppression they were imposing on the colonies. His steadfast boldness encouraged many others to also stand firm in the face of fear.
Here are some key lessons we can learn from Winston Churchill and Patrick Henry about boldness:
- Boldness helps you communicate your message more effectively – Appropriate boldness brings power to your message. Sharing your message with confidence and passion gets peoples attention. Bold people speak up when asked to give their opinion, because they have thought deeply about the issue at hand and are clear about what is right and best for the organization or country. Even if they are not completely clear on how to gt there, they are willing to take risks to make progress and get the right things done.
- Boldness will improve your relationships – People that are not afraid to have the hard conversations in life have some of the healthiest relationships. They keep short accounts and resolve issues. Other people like being around people that are confident and value living and influencing over simply existing and staying in their comfort zones. Appropriate boldness requires having composure and intentionally working on relationships before they get worse.
- Bold people are often criticized – If you are bold and passionate about something you will most likely get criticized and even ridiculed. True boldness gets you through those low times of rejection and failure. You are not a great leader if you have never been criticized, questioned and ridiculed. Boldness keeps you pressing forward.
- Boldness takes a positive outlook on life – Bold people think positive and believe the best. Nothing kills boldness faster than a pessimistic outlook or negative thinking. If you focus on what could go wrong your boldness dwindles but when you focus on what can go right your boldness grows.
- God raises up and uses bold people – When you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ you have access to incredible power. God’s spirit lives in you and empowers you to be bold for Him. The stronger your faith in God grows the bolder you become. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, and of love and of sound judgement.”
When a person is not bold they often miss opportunities to influence and make a difference. Of course you can be bold for wrong reasons and sometimes people will be more of a bully than a bold person. Character matters when it comes to being bold. Sometimes the most bold thing you can do is not fight back but forgive and love. Stand up for what is right and good and protect the weak and oppressed. Be bold about things that make the world a better place and serve other people, that’s appropriate boldness.
Boldness is one of 48 principles that Lodestar Guidance teaches. Each principle has a short video and a bulletin that walks you through the keys to improving that quality in your life. It’s a great way to build a culture that is healthy and thriving. If you would like more information about Lodestar or leadership development email me at firstname.lastname@example.org