Instead, it is a choice we get to make each day.
Leadership is no contest.
Too many people become so impressed with their title or position on the organization chart, that they forget that leadership is not about them at all. Rather, leadership is all about those whom we lead. Why? Well, the answer is a simple one – there is no leadership without followers.
With that, we must remember that we don’t have to win every interaction that we have throughout the work day. In fact, if we remember that leadership is about the people whom we are leading, we will become much more effective and empathetic – better prepared to be able to see work from our people’s perspectives.
By acting in ways that help our people to be all that they can be, we gain “followership.”
Who wouldn’t want to work with someone that makes us better! It is inspiring to work in an environment that expects a lot and enables us to become better at what we do. Indeed, it can make us want to achieve the things that our leaders want for us.
Of course, the road to exceptional leadership is not an easy one. It takes deliberate focus and effort to lead in ways that inspire.
Here are a few ideas to keep top-of-mind as you go about your work as a leader:
1. Be Humble: We will need to practice humility, even when we are winning; even when our organizations are successful – and, that will be a challenge for many.
However, it will be an easier pill to swallow when we remind ourselves that not everything we conjure up is a gem. Indeed, critical thinking begins with being critical about our own thoughts. If we test our thoughts through unselfish reflection, we just might tone-down those ego-driven behaviors that can make us unbearable to work with.
2. Do Your Homework. Don’t be afraid to work hard at your craft. Gather as much information on leadership as you can. Make sure you get good ideas and insights from the people around you. And don’t be above seeking out a world-class leadership coach. They can give you much needed perspective and help whittle away your blind spots.
3. Recognize that you’re biased. Everybody is and it clouds our judgment. Work to understand what your biases are and work to overcome them. Again, coaching can be invaluable in this regard.
4. Practice the Golden Rule! Extraordinary leaders treat people in ways in which they would want to be treated. Kindness, fairness and decency are all exemplary leadership characteristics. We should not be afraid to demonstrate them in all that we do.
To close, I recognize that some of these ideas are not the ones you might expect to read in a piece about not needing to win all the time. However, if you embrace these ideas, I can guarantee that they will change your mindset and, when you change your mindset, you can change the behaviors that are holding you back from becoming the leader that you are meant to be.
For help in developing your next generation of top leaders, please be sure to reach-out.
BTW – These ideas are based on those presented in my latest book:
INDISPENSABLE: How to Build and Lead a Company Customers Can’t Live Without (2021).