These things aren’t really hard, cost anything or require specialized training or education. Click on the image on the left, download and start becoming a better leader.
1. Listen more intently to others
Leaders can learn so much by listening to members of their team and also by listening to their followers. Begin Listening
2. Treat others like you would want them to treat you
The Golden Rule. So simple yet it is so easy to forget sometimes. If you erred in some way wouldn’t you want someone to give you the benefit of the doubt? So before you make assumptions about a person’s behavior or jump on them for not doing something you asked, find out what caused the problem. Leaders should solve problems not create them. Treating those you lead in a manner you would want to be treated builds respect for you as a leader. Practice the Golden Rule.
3. Follow through on your promises
If you make a promise to someone, be true to your word and follow through. As a leader this establishes trust and credibility. It also shows the person you truly care about them. Keep your promises.
4. Do something to improve your mind
Maybe it’s reading about a subject that is completely foreign to you. Maybe it’s trying to acquire a new skill. Whatever it is, do something to increase your knowledge. Leaders should be always learning. Learn something new.
5. Pass on knowledge
Part of a leader’s responsibilities is to be an effective mentor. Start creating a legacy for your organization by mentoring those on your leadership team. Help them excel in their current leadership roles as well as prepare for the time when they will be the leader. Be a Mentor.
6. Be an optimist
It may be hard at times to keep a positive outlook. Start your day with something positive. Read an inspirational message, your holy scripture or listen to a motivational speech. Do something that will help begin your day with a positive outlook. Thinking positive will make the hard things easier. Start every day on a positive note.
Every leader encounters a time when despite their best efforts to inspire others to buy-in to their vision, they don’t feel enough people are paying attention. When this occurs it is time to stop, reevaluate, realign, re-prioritize and begin anew with a positive attitude.
However, if may be difficult to motivate yourself because the prevailing thought in your mind is “why bother if no one is listening?”
So to refocus your thinking in a positive manner you need to do the following things to get you back on track.
Talk to your mentor– Go back to the person you confide in and tell them how you feel. They will provide you an honest assessment of your situation. Tell them of your efforts to achieve your vision, your successes, your failures and your plan to continue. Ask them to help you to evaluate your plan and provide you advice on how to proceed. You should leave this meeting with a better attitude because you needed someone to listen; a good mentor is a good listener.
Talk to your inner circle – With a preliminary adjusted plan in hand, meet with your leadership inner circle and discuss it with them. Together go over the vision, the goals and the action plans you all originally agreed upon. Determine what is working, what is not and make the necessary changes to continue toward the vision.
Talk to the influencers in your organization– These are people whose opinions are respected by a large number of followers. Discuss your vision again, share with them your revised plan and ask them for their thoughts. Spend more time listening than talking. If they agree with the vision and the plan to achieve it, ask for their support. If not, go back to your inner circle for another discussion and revisions. Continue doing this until you have buy-in from the influencers.
This process will help you rid yourself of the thought that no one is listening. It focuses you on the positive aspects of your vision and connects you with people who are supportive and encouraging.
Several months ago I was asked to be a part of a community committee to collaborate on a website to promote travel to my community. The committee consisted of representatives from the chamber of commerce, the visitors’ bureau, the city and a downtown merchants association.
I was looking forward to this exercise because I had often said that establishing a dialogue among the various community organizations could be a valuable endeavor. It could evolve into a number of things but if nothing else would at least make the various organizations aware of each other’s purpose and maybe reveal ways we could assist one another.
I was one of two men on the committee among six women; three of whom headed their respective organizations. The other man, a local business owner, found after several meetings that the direction the committee was heading did not serve his immediate needs and dropped from the group. This left me alone with the women to attempt to reach an agreement on a website that hopefully would serve all of the organizations desire to increase awareness of the community to potential visitors.
I learned several leadership lessons from my participation but none more prominent than just how important is the art of listening. First of all I was in the midst of six women, I’m a man, HELLO… there is a natural, built-in barrier to communication. I didn’t think about reading “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” before I came to the meeting.
The whole man, woman thing aside, I found that my best strategy was to listen. After all I was having trouble talking without being interrupted. By listening I discovered important information about each person, their organization and what was important to them for the project to be successful. I also found out that by being silent and listening I was asked to express my opinion and was able to do so without interruption. Listening stopped the growing frustration I was feeling by attending these meetings and started to make them enjoyable and ultimately quite productive.
Here is a video by Tom Peters that stresses the importance of listening when you are a leader.
An essential part of being a leader is connecting to your team and your followers. You cannot connect without first understanding who they are and what is important to them. Doing a great deal of listening will help you do this. Try it. The next conversation or meeting spend more time actively listening than talking. I think you will be surprised just how much more you learn and how easier it will be to connect.