Oh The Difference a Person Can Make
Leaders are often credited with all the success and blame of their organization. Great leaders understand that blame falls on their shoulders, while success is attributed to the team. The difference in bosses and leaders often stem from habits. To grow and develop as a leader, follow the lead of amazing leaders by working on these habits.
Several years ago I was working for a difficult boss. This was a trying time and I was ready to jump ship for any opportunity that came along. Just before I took the plunge, my boss left. When my new boss started, I knew nothing about him, but he asked us to give him one year before deciding to leave. I agreed.
Over the course of that year I noticed six habits that my new boss possessed that changed the culture of the organization. These six habits can be learned by anyone and practiced by all, regardless of title.
Leaders have a responsibility to communicate with their teams. This does not mean barking orders, instead, communication should be regular information sharing from one to another. Oh, and it has to be both ways. You should listen twice as much as you speak.
When you listen to your team members, you are showing them you are accessible, which helps build trust. You are also able to gain their valuable input, which can often help your organization out. Maybe most importantly, you communicate the vision, your passion, show accountability, and give people the why behind the what.
Most people want to know where they’re going. Imagine jumping in a vehicle with your co-workers knowing you’re going on a 3,000 mile trip, but no one knows the destination. Without a destination, you never know when you have arrived. By casting a vision, you show what the journey should look like. If you’ve communicated it enough, your team can wave flags when something doesn’t look right.
If being a giver and servant as a leader does not make sense to you, stop now and go read The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. This book shows that by giving you actually can receive more. Leadership is about others, not yourself. The difference in bosses and leaders is the ability to see who the position is about.
As part of the giving mentality, give development opportunities, authority, second chances, just give. Light a fire under someone to create passion. Do for one what you wish you could do for twenty.
When you are passionate about your job, you communicate to your team the importance of everyone doing their job. Passion is communicated in many ways including the way you talk, the way you walk, and your commitment to the cause. Great leaders are passionate about the vision, developing others, and the purpose behind the cause.
One of the quickest ways to lose influence is hold yourself to a lower standard than anyone else. If it is good enough for your team, it is not high enough for you. Leaders have to hold themselves to a higher level of accountability to win and keep influence.
Accountability is also a key factor in influencing others. Most of us have worked on teams where someone was allowed to get away with murder, when the boss doesn’t take action, the entire team suffers. Holding others accountable allows the team to function and become engaged. Don’t forget mercy when warranted though.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked habit is knowing the purpose of the cause. As Simon Sinek write in Start With Why, the why is more important than the what. When you are determining your team or product, first why, then what. People do not buy a product simply for what it does, rather why it does it. Think of some of the most passionate people you have ever met, most were infatuated with the why before the what.
Steve Jobs was a person that knew the power of why. Everything about Apple Computer was about the why people needed something instead of what they needed. At the time of the iPhone launch, cell phones were a status quo market, until Jobs discovered a purpose greater than a simple voice communications device.
A person who exhibited these six habits was able to turn an entire organization around in one year. If serving others through development, communication, and giving them a destination is enough to do that, why do so many bad bosses exist? I personally think some of it is greed, insecurity, power, and ignorance.
Question: What can you do this week to use the six habits listed? You can leave a comment by clicking here.