I had an argument with an individual last week. The argument was not important, but it struck me afterwards that his position was, “I am just doing what I think is right!” This comment could be perfectly fine if we are able to listen to opposing views and discuss possible differences in opinion. But when we decide we no longer care what others think, and consider our opinion right without listening… well that leads to conflict.
Major conflicts throughout history were the result of people doing what they thought was right. Family arguments result when people do what they think is right without considering how it impacts others.
I have written a lot about the importance of knowing yourself and knowing your values. It is your guide to living a life of significance. I have also written a lot about the skill of listening. If you care about others you will listen to them. These two things, knowing your values and listening, are not meant to be segregated.
After the argument, I also reflected on multiple occasions in the work environment where people believe they are right and stop listening. This brings to a quick halt the opportunities for improvement, innovation, and change.
The lesson I reflected on this week is that even when you feel you are right, you have to consider the possibility that you are not. Stop and listen. How good are you at temporarily putting aside your opinion, and actively listening?
Round three of things you need to know about leadership. Becoming a leader is a journey, and here are another five things you really need to consider in your leadership.
1. Coachable. You are coachable if you remain humble are open to continual learning, and never lose the adventure of discovery.
2. Self-Discipline. Leadership is about taking people to a new place, but also keeping the standards that are put in place. If you want your team to be disciplined and responsible, then you must show the same qualities.
3. Generosity. You must be generous with the one thing that everyone wants… your time.
4. Initiative. As a leader you are expected to create momentum with the group. Get them started. You can only do that if you have the initiative to get yourself started.
5. Focus. With all the chaos and demands of the day, you must have focus on the outcome you desire. You must continually keep the focus on the future you want to create, and not hesitate to move towards it.
I think fifteen things about leadership are enough to keep you thinking. Leadership is a journey. What steps are you taking today?
Leadership is complex. There are many skills that play a part of being a great leader. After last week’s article I know I just touched a few. Here are five more to characteristics to consider.
- Vision. A leader must have a vision of the future. People don’t follow someone that is not working towards some new goal. Even though people resist change, there is no need for them to follow someone without a vision.
- Communication. Of course you need to be able to communicate the vision. If you cannot communicate your plan, no one will want to follow. Effective communication is not just telling the story, it is connecting the audience to the story.
- Listening. Since communication requires both talking and listening, this is a skill that cannot be overlooked. It requires practice. Listening helps you connect and can set you apart from other leaders if you do it well.
- Competence. This seems like a bit of cheating to list competence here. To be a good leader, you need to be a good leader, right? I think it belongs on this list because a great leader is always learning to be a better leader. Being a life long student of leadership can improve your skills.
- Serving Attitude. A true leader serves others. With this attitude people will follow you because you have aligned your path with theirs. Include their individual needs with the needs of the team and your success will be amplified.
Well that is more to consider when you want to increase your leadership skills. What are you doing this week to increase your influence with others? How can you practice growing these skills?
Leadership has many definitions and can be described by many attributes. Here are 5 critical attributes of leadership to consider if you want to be a better leader.
- Character. People recognize your character. It is what is visible to others. Character is what you say, what you do, how you respond to challenges, and how you react to changing circumstances. A leader must have character that attracts others. Strengthen your authentic character and you will strengthen your leadership potential.
- Commitment. Can you think of one great leader that did not show great commitment to their cause? I am not sure there are any. People do not want to follow someone that gives up easily. You must pursue your goal through adversity if others are to believe you are committed.
- Courage. People like to back an underdog because the underdog is willing to take a risk and put everything on the line to win. Are you willing to take risks? Is your leadership able to influence people to find success where others have given up? People won’t follow courage paired with stupidity, but they will follow courage paired with intelligence.
- Passion. Passion on the simplest level is loving what you do. When you love what you do it shows. People can sense passion. When you have it, the passion amplifies other attributes of leadership. Passion is the multiplier effect.
- Responsibility. When you are responsible, you get the job done. You take ownership of both failure and success. Responsibility is the trait that keeps you working long hours to meet deadlines, even when they are self-imposed. Responsibility provides the constant desire to achieve your commitments. People will follow a leader that takes responsibility for the team.
Leadership grows through experience and the desire to get better. If you reflect on your leadership in the last week, what attribute would you want to strengthen?