I’ve been taking part in a leadership program hosted by our local Chamber of Commerce. Our first session dealt with …… you guessed it, didn’t you? Leadership.
Several thoughts from our first session have stuck with me the past month.
The first is, you must lead with vision. Lewis Carol (of Alice in Wonderland fame) said “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” There’s such truth in that. Leadership should come with a plan and a vision. You’ve got to be able to see where you want to be three months or three years down the road. You’ve got to be able to show people what you are leading them towards.
Secondly, when you are in charge, be in charge. Don’t be wishy washy. Don’t make people doubt that you have a plan. That doesn’t mean you aren’t open to ideas and discussion. You’ve just got to pick a path and help guide everyone to a point. You’ve got to inspire you team to push through. Someone said, “Hope is not a method.” You can’t expect people to work with you if you don’t have a solid plan in place.
Leaders have integrity. Leaders don’t lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those that do. If you are going to be a leader, your character must be above board. You also must encourage your team to be accountable in the same way. They won’t respect you if you sit idly and watch others not carrying their weight or being deceitful and not stepping in. They also won’t follow if they don’t trust you.
Finally, leaders don’t squash innovation. Some people like innovation if you still do it the same way you always have. If you want to move ahead of status quo, you’ve got to be able to be willing embrace change at times. Don’t be afraid of trying something new. What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work. That’s not necessarily bad, you learned what didn’t work didn’t you? How many times did Bell attempt to make the phone or Edison (or Tesla – depending on your view) fail before creating a bulb that worked. You can learn from failure as well. The idea is not to fear it so much that you never move forward.