Leadership is not easy, but you can follow five simple principles:
First LEAD YOURSELF
It’s tough leading others if you’re not leading yourself well. What do I mean by that? If you’re not looking after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, then those you lead will get second best (or even worse). When you lead others, you need clear vision and a healthy outlook. These are best developed by leading yourself to the best of your ability.
There are times when leaders struggle. The best two things you can do at times like this are; admit it and ask for help. Being vulnerable and not being too proud to share it makes you a stronger leader – and your followers will thank you for it. Asking for help is one of the best thing a leader can do – you are not self-sufficient, and relying on others can bring out the best in you.
Second LEAD THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU
Leadership reach is finite. The best way to impact the most people is to invest in those closest to you. Whether that’s family, friends, or work colleagues, the same applies. This is true in the context of organizations, sports teams, churches, and pretty much any other group. If you can invest your energy in those closest to you, empower them to influence others, and build a strong first-line team, you will be leading well. Building trust and confidence with your immediate team will be infectious.
Third LEAD THE LINE
Being an example is one of the best things a leader can do. Showing up when the going is tough. Being positive when others around you are being cynical, or rising to the challenge when others are offering negative appraisals. A leader is courageous and prepared to face the head wind when others are looking for shelter. A leader doesn’t immerse him or herself in details, theories, or speculations – but stands up and is happy to be counted. A leader is aware that others depend on him or her, and takes this responsibility seriously.
Fourth LEAD WITH OTHERS
A leader doesn’t need to feel lonely or isolated. Yes, there are times when a leader will forge ahead to discover safe passage for others. But a good leader often surrounds him or herself with a team who add strength and diversity to his or her own skills and judgment. Your leadership is stronger when others share their strength with you. A good leader is often in the company of those who feel the benefit of their leadership.
Five LEAD THROUGH
Leadership is about follow-through. It’s not about leading when you feel like it, or when the going is easy, or when others are with you. It’s about setting a goal, following a plan, and delivering results. There’s nothing more deflating than a leader who jumps ship, or doesn’t deliver, or simply doesn’t care. A good leader leaves a destination and arrives at a new one – even if he or she must change course a few times along the way.
Leaders often benefit from a coach to keep him or her mindful of the five principles above. A coach can keep a leader honest and provide feedback if any of the principles appear out of line. Most of all, a leader is a better person for having a set of principles to live and lead by.