To lead more effectively are you prepared to develop your character?
Leadership is a responsibility. Growing yourself in Leadership is an inside job which requires you building your integrity, commitment, honesty and loyalty on the inside. You cannot give what you do not have.
My mentor and good friend ran a global organisation that spanned many countries and touched many lives before he passed away in 2013. He was a very impressive man but the thing that impressed me most about my good friend was his integrity. He was committed to being a man of his word and he always followed through, without fail. He once casually recounted an incident during a trip away where he’d purchased a valuable piece of jewellery. Although he could have worn the jewellery when passing through Customs and claimed it as a personal possession, he declared his purchase, paid the duty on it and kept his conscience clean. Integrity is putting a higher price on your reputation than any sum you can name.
Who are you when no one is looking?
Something else my friend said stuck with me: I asked him what was the key to success in business. His answer tells you everything about the man: “Make the right decisions for the right reasons – not for convenience….”
Are you facing some tough decisions right now?
Lee Strobel, an award winning investigative journalist with the Chicago Tribune, couldn’t believe his luck when he stumbled upon a cache of secret Ford Motor Company documents in the late 1970’s. The documents uncovered evidence of what key executives at Ford had known for some time: the Ford Pinto was a fire danger when hit from behind at around 20 miles per hour. The documents also proved that Ford executives decided against improving the cars safety specifications to save a few dollars per vehicle and to improve luggage space.
As a result of his findings, Ford was prosecuted for reckless homicide in the fiery death of three teenagers in a subcompact Pinto. Even the most powerful can fall without a strong sense of ethics and integrity.
When it comes to developing your Leadership character you have to be prepared to ask yourself tough questions – “Is there a purpose I’m committed to?”
What are you committed to?
What drives you?
Leadership is about casting vision so that the people that you lead know where they are going and can follow you as the Leader. They need to know the reason they are coming to work each day and why it matters (besides their pay).
In the 1980’s, when Microsoft was developing the Windows operating system, the designers, led by Bill Gates, spent 18 months living, eating and sleeping Windows in their offices in Seattle. 24-hour days were the norm in the battle to get their operating system first to the market. What kept this team together and enabled them to achieve their goal? Commitment, conviction and loyalty to one another. They had to trust that while they were losing family time and personal freedom, so were all their peers – they had to know everyone on the team, from the Leader down, was paying the same price, showing the same level of commitment.
Where are you going?
Do your emerging Leaders know your vision and are they committed to it?
Are you showing by your actions, the same level of commitment to the company goals as you expect from your team members?
The lowest level of Leadership is title. You can never assume Leadership of people due to the title you have been given. Effective Leaders bring about a change in people due to what they do for the people in the team they lead.
The people in your team follow you because you are committed to making a real difference in their roles and in their lives – you show them loyalty.
A leader who invests in improving the skills of their team, a leader who stands by and backs their team members even when they mess up (we all make mistakes), a leader who shares the praise for the teams successes and doesn’t take all the credit, a leader who is interested in peoples lives outside work and tries to understand what makes them “tick” (they are not just there to do a job and go home). These actions scream of loyalty towards your team members and they engender loyalty being reciprocated in volumes. Loyalty is priceless for building and nurturing a successful team.
What are you doing to bring about a positive change in the people you lead?
Authentic Leaders act on their convictions and succeed because they are convicted.
Goals built on half-truths will fail.
As the Leader you must be prepared to look the truth straight on.
What do you have to do differently – what do you have to change?
A requirement of Leadership to successfully lead others requires honesty.
What do you have to be honest about when it comes to your own Leadership responsibilities?
What do you need to be honest about regarding individuals within the team you lead when it comes to their levels of behaviours and accountability and respect, the two key platforms for a successful organisation?
To lead you must be also be completely honest with everyone around you or there can be no trust, and if you don’t have trust you can’t lead effectively because your level of influence is severely diluted.
We all have people in our lives that have a reputation for not being trustworthy; nobody really believes what they say anymore as they’ve been caught out too many times stretching the truth. You cannot lead with a reputation like this. Be a leader who is true to their word so that every word you say will have your desired impact.
The more trust you have, the more influence you will have.
How much trust do you have within the team you lead?
Whose trust don’t you have?
Whose trust do you need to gain?
All successful leaders understand that they must change the way they think and the size of their thinking will result in the level of success they ultimately achieve.
If you want to lead with bigger and better thinking this will be determined by who you are prepared to expose yourself to for input.
Who is Leading You?
Leadership is not a title. Leadership is not a position. To lead effectively requires a deliberate process that produces the results you want to achieve as the leader because you are willing to firstly change yourself before you bring about a change in others so that you can move the team you lead towards the results you want to achieve.
What are you willing to act upon to grow in Leadership so that you can lift the team that you lead to a higher level?