Everyone has the potential to become a leader. No matter what job you have, whether you work alone or with a large or small team, you should strive to be a great leader. Different styles and modes of leadership exist on two basic levels, the individual work and the group effort.
I am a big fan of quotes because they can say things better than I can sometimes. Here is one I start with when conducting staff development sessions.
“He who knows much about others may be learned, but he who understands himself is more intelligent. He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” Tao Te Ching
Over the years, I have developed my top-ten leadership tips, and here they are:
Treat everyone with respect and dignity. Some people make the mistake of being nicer to the “higher-ups” and not so much to others. Well, not only does that say something about you, but, you may be found out and it may cost you a job or an account or something else.
Make decisions that benefit the whole and will work on all levels. Always think holistically and be aware that some “problem solving” is just problem moving and you want to avoid that at all costs.
Everyone can make a contribution and take responsibility. Observe, listen, ask questions, and when you are confident that you have something to contribute – say something.
Use the bicycle chain principle. We are only as strong as our weakest link. We are always working with a team of people to become successful. When possible, help the weak link, because when one link is broken – the chain does not work…
Try not to make exceptions. If the rules, or process, or systems are not working – change them.
If you make a mistake or forget something- tell the boss first. Don’t let someone else be the bearer of bad news.
Ask questions if you don’t know something. Don’t bluff or guess and then try to fix it later.
Know the difference between perceptions and facts. Facts are easier to correct but perceptions take a much longer time.
Know your faults and what pushes your buttons just as much as you do your ability to contribute.
If you are away for any period of time from work, come back as if to a new job – things have changed and there is always plenty to learn.
And the last quote – which is related to the reality that most of us work with people and at the end of the day the old phrase is so true – it’s not what you say, its how you say it.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “ Maya Angelou