I had a fabulous conversation about leadership yesterday, and it got me to thinking that, although the subject of ‘leadership’ is part of my day-to-day conversation, I rarely write a training article on it. So today, I want to tell you what I’ve learned about leadership over the last few years. Most of you will have heard these things before, but hearing and doing are two very different things.
Leaders make the world go round, but bad ones make it go round the wrong way.
They’re in everything; every church, every company, every school, every home and even every prison yard.
But here’s the thing, there’s a fine line between good leadership and well, Hitler (eek). That’s why it’s important to know the difference between what makes a good leader good — and why bad leaders are bad.
I figured out, truly via trial by fire, that even though I have a natural drive toward leadership, I am NOT skilled in handling all the aspects of leadership in a business environment.
It took me a few years, but I finally learned that, to be really good at leadership, I needed to admit that there were things I simply didn’t do very well. One of those is managing the day-to-day needs of my staff. I 100% care about my people, above anything else, but because of my visionary mindset and the necessity that I focus on the “big picture” in order to grow my business, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t give people the individual attention they deserved.
Once I admitted that I was sucking at it, it was easy to see the solution.
I hired arguably the best manager ever – he’s absolutely perfect for his role and he is WONDERFUL at doing the thing I was doing so very not wonderfully.
- There are a few things that make a good leader:
- The willingness to see the gaps, absent abilities, and deficiencies in oneself/one’s business/one’s world.
- The drive (and the humility) to admit that it might be time to fill the gaps with someone else.
- The ability and willingness to let great people do what great people do WITHOUT micro-managing and trying to turn them into your own personal mini-me.
- The desire to give people both praise and credit for being who they’re called to be.
- A willingness to get in there and get one’s hands dirty.
- An encouraging and optimistic perspective.
- A profound sense of gratitude.
Whether you’ve been thrust into a leadership role, or you’ve come into one organically, you CAN be good at — it may take some mental renewal, but you CAN. And good leaders inspire epic change and epic change is the stuff beautiful tomorrows are made from.