Leadership is about putting the needs of others ahead of yourself. Serving others, as long as it is in the direction of achieving your corporate goals, is the true essence of effective leadership. Leadership is about seeking out what motivates someone, and figuring out how that internal motivation can be mobilized to help the team achieve its goals. It is about creating a mutual benefit and offering a sense of personal achievement to that employee.
There is a simple process to real personal change on a transformational level. If an executive chooses not to change and grow in this way, then she will not be considered “followable” by her employees. If she is not followable, then her team will only go through the motions of their tasks, leading to mediocre results. A real leader must be worthy of having followers, and that, more than anything, is a character issue.
Leadership is a matter of who you are, not what you do. Many executives of today are seeking their leadership solutions in short term quick fix tricks and tactics. If I push this button, I’ll get this response. If I just say things this way, I can manipulate my people into following me to help me reach my goals. Such short-sighted thinking can only work well on a short term basis. Short term methods do not build long term trust between the leader and her team. If longer term change is needed, change which is permanent and is felt at the very heart of the team, then short-term fixes will not work.
Everyone is a leader in the sense that we all influence others and in turn are influenced by them. Even if you are starting at the bottom of the organization, you must still embody the principles of leadership and grow in that area. If you are faithful to the tenets of team leadership, you will be rewarded and given greater levels of responsibility.
There are three steps to starting the growth process necessary to become a good leader.
1. Cultivate Generosity and Mutuality
There is room in the organization for everyone to achieve satisfaction. Everyone can achieve the victory when the team does. By ensuring that every single person in the organization wins when the company wins, then you increase the probability of success of the team achieving its goals. A good leader does not hold the glory for himself. Rather, the leader with generosity appears invisible to the team. And his team members will natually feel that they accomplished the tasks themselves.
2. Create a Code of Ethics
Live in a way that is congruent with your values. If you can clearly identify those values and principles which guide the way you do business, then you can develop a personal code of ethics and behavior. Many professions have some sort of oath or ceremony to dedicate their new members into a commitment toward a higher calling. Once that calling has been identified, you can start making clear decisions within the framework of that calling or code.
3. Communicate Your Values
Now that you are living in alignment with your values, others around you will see this commitment. If you are in a supervisory position, you need to articulate those values to your team, and in this way you are creating a culture of accountability. People who believe in the team will begin following those same values and principles. By developing a unified team who shares core values, trust begins to develop. Leadership is a very personal issue, and cannot be institutionalized. The true measure of success as a leader is the amount of trust and commitment that he gains from his fellow teammates.
Many new leaders will be surprised at how easy the elements of leadership really are to incorporate into their daily lives. That’s because leadership is primarily an issue of character development and secondarily an issue of skills and competence. By taking these initial three steps to developing authentic leadership, those around you will take notice, and begin to see you as a positive force worth following.
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