The world is in desperate need of good leaders – leaders who base every action and decision on their values. Leadership is based on integrity, innovation and relationships. Your effectiveness as a leader is not based on your title or your technical expertise, but rather on your ability to uphold your values in the face of resistance, the capacity to look into the future and envision the products and services that will be needed in the years to come; and the skills to build strong relationships with those that will help make the future a reality.
To become a leader that makes a positive impact on the world and your organization, follow the six steps listed below to greatness.
6. Embrace Our Rapidly Changing World.
You’ve probably heard it said more than once, “The only thing constant is change.” You can decide that you are going to help create change and learn from it, or you can try to resist change; either way the world keeps changing. Because of global competition and the rapid increase of information and technologies, many large organizations are eliminating layers of middle management and supervisors to be more responsive to change and to their customers. Great leaders know their success depends on their ability to quickly adapt to change; they look into the future to see how they can make a difference and how their talents and energies can be applied in the organization. Your ability to adapt to change will significantly impact your leadership and organizational success.
5. Make Friends with the Unknown.
One of the necessities to becoming a great leader is to be empowered; to do this, great leaders become comfortable with the unknown. As fast as our environment is changing, it is impossible to know all the facts or have all the answers all the time. If you wait until all the available information is in to make your decisions, the chances are you have waited too long. In today’s environment, we no longer can afford the luxury of waiting until something is absolutely perfect. Effective leaders make decisions based on the best available information and lead the charge! As Peter Drucker once said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
4. Be the Change You Want to See in the World.
In light of these words by Gandhi, great leaders do not wait for the world to change, they lead the change. Where are you going to spend your energy? Complaining about things you cannot change or creating the things you can? If you feel your destiny is in someone else’s hands, you do not have to take responsibility for your actions. Focus on what you can do and take responsibility. There is power in responsibility.
3. Value and Incorporate Different Perspectives.
It is easy to communicate with people who think just like you. It is difficult to effectively communicate with someone who has a differing viewpoint. If we only have the ability to communicate with people who think like us, we are limiting ourselves from learning new and valuable information and we are limiting our leadership effectiveness. To quote Andy Stanly, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing to say.” Reach out to people who have different points of view; invite their input and incorporate their ideas; whenever possible. With information and the environment changing as rapidly as it is, we can no longer afford to look unilaterally for one right answer. Become multilateral in your thinking. Search for possibilities–not just one solution.
2. Genuinely Care about Your People.
We recently heard a manager say that he did not care about people’s emotions. He went on to say, “We have a job to get done!” Unfortunately, people are the ones who are going to get that job done. And, people have feelings. In fact, everything about motivation and the desire to do good work is based on a feeling. If we do not consider people’s feelings, it is impossible to be an effective leader.
1. Develop a Leadership “Tool Kit.”
No one can have all the answers. What you can develop is a “tool kit” of resources that can help to solve problems. If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Collect information, and then learn and practice leadership and management techniques. Remember, good leaders never stop learning.
Make 2018 the year you become the leader your organization and the world needs!