by Craig Hysell, www.craighysell.com
As a business owner or a coach, you have volunteered to be a leader.
A leader takes full responsibility for:
- the overall vision and direction of the team
- for each mission that leads to the fulfillment of the vision
- and for developing the people responsible for seeing each aspect of the daily mission through to victory
If it breaks, as a leader, it’s your fault. There is no other way. It is this simple.
Anyone in the organization can be a leader. Anyone. Just don’t expect everyone to be one… it’s a nice thought, but it’s not fair to everyone on your Team (that’s a whole separate article).
Great leaders are fantastic communicators.
To be a fantastic communicator you have to learn how to listen. If you can learn how to listen FIRST, you will be able to find the words and actions that stir buy-in, fellowship, grit, enthusiasm and success with your tribe.
Great leadership has its own language and here are a couple of things (out of many) YOU can listen for in your own daily communication to see where you stand:
- Condescension is not in your creed. When you “look at so-and-so like your little sister or brother”, use the phrase “I love you, BUT” or utilize sarcasm in your feedback of other’s actions or ideas you are showing a MASSIVE amount of disrespect to the person you are leading. Don’t do that. A great leader treats his or her followers as peers.
- That’s a great question, I’ll have the answer for you tomorrow. NEVER lie. If you don’t know the answer, do not pretend you do. Be honest and say you do not know and then say you will go find the answer. Your vulnerability… and your willingness to learn more so your people can be better… goes a LONG WAY in building trust with your tribe.
- Talk about ideas, not people. Great leaders do not gossip. Great leaders defend the people being gossiped about. Great leaders talk about ideas and INCLUDE others in the decision-making process OUTSIDE the formality of meetings! Simply open up a conversation by saying, “Hey, I’ve been chewing on an idea for all of us, would you mind telling me what you think?” Always be INCLUSIVE with your language, using “we” not “I”, “ours” not “mine”.
- You must control your negative emotions, give benefit of the doubt, and respect the fact that not everyone has to view the world the way you do to be a good person. You must have compassion: everyone is battling something you know nothing about. In his early days as an attorney, Abraham Lincoln was an abrasive jerk until, one day, he angered someone so fiercely that the individual challenged Lincoln to a duel in order to defend his sullied honor. Lincoln was horrified. Thankfully the duel was called off and Lincoln learned a very important lesson: Nobody gets very far if they are loudly, arrogantly and abrasively always right.
- Speak last. Speak clearly. Speak succinctly. Listen until the person has talked themselves out. Listen until everyone has had their say. Listen for the emotional drivers behind their words, their ideas, their passions. Listen. Listen. Listen. Then speak. Make each word mean something. Get to the point quickly. Many times sharing stories will have more impact than issuing directives.
All of this is a discipline. It takes practice and time. So… practice and be patient.