I recently traveled to Copenhagen as a speaker for the Signature Leaders program. One of the best parts of the meeting for me was listening to the many things the speaker panel had to say about their biggest leadership lessons. Here are a few of the highlights when asked about the biggest lessons each had learned:
1. Doing things through others. You were probably promoted because you were a great producer. Now, in a leadership position, your effectiveness is completely up to your ability to get others to buy into your vision and execute in their job. We’ve all heard the saying… “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I think that sums up what was being said that night, as many of the stories were about how challenging it can be to be evaluated by your team’s performance. It also reminded me of a fundamental mistake companies make at times when they promote their top producers without adequate leadership training!
2. Staying humble while becoming the example of opportunity. Being humble doesn’t matter as much when you begin your corporate climb for the simple reason you just don’t interact with that many people. The higher you go in the organization, the more important humility and staying humble becomes. One of the cornerstones of leadership is creating other leaders. Being an example people want to follow is a fundamental part of leadership. Who wants to be promoted if everyone in management is a jerk? Not me!
3. Prioritizing. We’ve all heard that we need to learn the difference between important and urgent. I’ve seen people work down the proverbial “to-do” list only to neglect the one or two most important things that were actually urgent! This is huge for any leader… know what needs to take priority and make sure those things don’t slip through the cracks.
4. Trusting your people. What does that look like? Delegate. Not micro-managing. Asking their opinion. Including them. Bottom line…treating them like business partners instead of employees.
5. Use your passion wisely… Said differently “Know what hill to die on!” Make your points logically AND emotionally. Anytime a leader is consistently overly emotional, it can create a subjective environment. Make your point logically and emotionally. Worth noting… letting your people see your passion is also important!
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