If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams
What better person to offer advice on leadership than one of the founding fathers of this great nation? Although leadership is not a perfect fit given the title of this column, you'll likely see me write a lot about it in the future. Management versus leadership is a specific enough topic to have its own column in the future, but let's for a brief minute ponder the concept of leadership alone.
Leading is a tall order for anyone who sits in a position with responsibility, accountability and oversight for other employees. It doesn't matter if that responsibility includes one person or one hundred people. Yet, not everyone (more likely very FEW) actually has a natural capacity to be a leader. Skills need to be honed, practiced, and challenged; work and life experiences continually provide influence; and our own character, morals, values, and work ethic contribute to leadership styles.
The beauty of leadership is that we can have diverse and different ideas of how to become a better leader. For fun, I thought I'd share "Lori's Top ELEVEN List of leadership Practices" that have served me well, although admittedly I am constantly learning, growing, and changing. See how they match or differ from your own.
- Foster a culture where mutual trust and teamwork is valued and expected by all
- Show respect for each person's individual contribution, skills, experience, and background
- Always ask for help and feedback, encourage new ideas to emerge individually, be a nurturer of ideas through teamwork
- Be authentic and honest, willing to share even when it's not easy to do so
- Reserve time out of each day to listen and learn from others, paying attention to those whose silence is sometimes safer or more comfortable
- Allow employees to shine brightest with their work and accomplishments, and be comfortable enough with yourself to always take the backseat
- Work as hard as everyone else, valuing personal work ethic along with the significance of life balance
- Celebrate every success no matter how minor and recognize those responsible, even if it is a simple word or gesture
- Embrace vulnerability and don't be afraid to talk about failures – enjoy the opportunity to learn, improve, and recognize effort
- Be deliberate, make decisions with consistency and openness
- Maintain a really healthy sense of humor and laugh about something EVERY day – striving for excellence in work is stressful stuff and we all need to smile a little more along the way!
If you have other best leadership practices that have worked for you, please share them with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to include them in a future Member Brief.