[Photo credit: Chris Potter]
Everyone finds themselves in positions of leadership at some point in their life. Sometimes the circumstances of leadership are very subtle. You don’t always need to be in a formal office position, or in a sporting team to be in a position of leadership. Leadership can occur within your family, church, or friendship circle. These can be very subtle types of leadership but just as important.
I’ve been following Michael Hyatt on Facebook since the beginning of 2015 and a member of his Platform University since March 9, 2015. He is one of the most influential people on the planet regarding leadership.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
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Recently, he asked the question on his Facebook page, ‘What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?’ When I last checked, the post had 114 Likes, 11 Shares and 262 Comments. People obviously liked the topic and had advice. I was blown away by the quality of the comments. I noticed there were key themes that continually arose. I decided to list the comments into themes in order to deepen my knowledge and define the responses. There will always be some data that can’t be fitted into a theme and this was no different. I didn’t include the outliner responses here but they were very insightful. I think these responses often have the ability to create new, innovative ideas; however, the purpose of this task was to establish the common beliefs for being a great leader.
Be a Great Leader:
Every good leader is a great follower. In order to lead well, you must firstly be able to follow others. I’m reminded of a great YouTube video by Derek Sivers about the first follower and leadership lessons from the dancing guy.
- Get a mentor/coach.
Every great leader has a great mentor or coach. You can fast-track your success by learning from someone else’s mistakes and learn what works from other people's experiences. A coach will push you beyond your comfort zone in order to grow and guide you in your journey.
Definitely one of the themes that came up most and certainly one of the most important; listen. Take your time before you talk and observe as much as possible. Listen to what people have to say. Sometimes you won’t even have to say anything.
- Get your hands dirty.
Some of the best stories of leadership and the fondest memories from people who experience a great leader, are those where the leader gets in and helps out. The best leaders will take a shovel and dig with you as opposed to saying, “Here’s a shovel, can you dig a hole”.
- Practice what you preach.
If you preach a certain mantra, you must back it up with your actions. One of the quickest ways to lose trust and damage team cohesion is to say one thing and do another. Your actions often speak louder than words so always back up your words with your actions.
- Be trustworthy.
Trust takes time to establish and can be lost in an instant. Trust is being developed every single minute of every single day. The most fundamental way to develop trust is to show up day in, day out, and do what you say you’ll do.
- Serve others.
Servant leadership is one of the most effective styles of leadership. If you can’t serve others, you can’t lead. Always be looking for opportunities to serve others. Provide opportunities for development and help others fulfil their passions.
- Grow/continue to learn.
Lifelong learning is fundamental to fulfilment. Our brains are hardwired to learn. Learn from every situation and seek out opportunities to learn new things in new ways. You must step outside your comfort zone in order to grow and when you continue to grow, you create endless opportunities, freedom and fulfilment. Get comfortable sitting on the edge and outside your comfort zone.
- Be humble.
There is draining to have a leader who is not humble. When a leader is not humble, the team/group feels unappreciated and can develop a sense of learned helplessness. This leads to poor team cohesion and poor outcomes. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to provide recognition to others. Great leaders don’t take individual credit. They share the success with their team and recognise every person’s contribution to the whole.
- Be yourself.
Another way to develop trust is to be yourself. Always stay true to your core values and beliefs. It is draining to be constantly acting like someone you’re not. If you’re going to be a leader for the long haul, you must be true to yourself. There is a reason you have risen to a position of leadership.
Everyone finds themselves in a position of leadership at one point or another in their life. Whether you maintain that position of leadership, and your success in that position, comes down to how well you do these ten things.
What advice would you give someone going into a position of leadership for the first time? Let me know in the comments below.
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