Every human being is leading. Life depends on it. Whether it's a single child family, a multi national corporation or a small 3 person business, you lead.
If you don't lead well, things go wrong. My experience working with people in business is that 1 in 10 people understand the real secrets of leadership. Most are just immitating, emulating or bumbling along doing their best. There's no need to make leadership harder than it needs to be, and really, it's all pretty simple. I'll list a few points I've picked up during my Himalayan Travels.
1. You can't give what you haven't got
You have to look after yourself. Ultimately you can only leaders others as well as you are leading yourself. If the quality of that self-leadership is crappy, you lead others crappy: like manipulate, abuse, incentivise, engage and more... all substitutes for real leadership.
Good self leadership begins with understanding that there are seven areas of your life. If you ignore one of them, it'll come an bite you eventually. Self-leadership then extends to the quality of your G.I.V.E .(gratitude for the past, inspiration in the moment, vision of the future, enthusiasm for life).. which really means getting your personal act together, balanced and fulfilled in life. Then, and most importantly comes the ability to motivate and inspire yourself. Once you know how to do this, inspiring and motivating others is a piece of cake.
2. Getting past rhetoric
There are no half hearted success stories and good leadership demands whole hearted investment. If you have doubt or uncertainty, lack of confidence or insecurity about the future, it smells and people can pick up that scent better than a shark with a drop of blood.
When you communicate with people as a leader they feel before they hear. Remind yourself about this and see what the "vibe" is before you speak. It's the key to communication and it's called story telling. Being able to paint vivid word pictures. There's no need to do a training or learn corporate tricks in this. Simply be authentic and it happens.
3. Don't lead on the cutting edge
At the cutting edge of any areas of life you are bordering on incompetence. That's growth and you need it. But in y9our leadership of others make sure you have walked the path you are taking people down many times before. For the cutting edge stuff, go with someone who can teach you when you reach incompetence, don't be dealing with that in front of those who depend on you for certainty.
4. Don't chunk jobs down into smaller jobs
People bring skills to the table, not chunks of jobs. Instead of chunking jobs down into smaller jobs chunk outcomes into skills and allocate these to people. Play to people's values and skills not to convenient bundles of jobs. A person might be great at the concept phase of work, so give then concepts to do rather than project pieces.
5. Have a picture in your head that is bigger than the job at hand
Problems are caused by leaders who fix problems. Focus on where you want to be rather than where you are. Make where you want to be the focus of your mind-space rather than the problems. Hold that vision and trigger the creative juices that solve the problems on the way. Know that every step you get closer to the picture in your mind, the less inspired you will be. The job therefore means to keep reinventing yourself and your potential picture. Never let the picture in your head and reality meet.
6. Experiment offline
90% of the ongoing coaching i do with clients is experimenting offline. I become a sounding board to prevent their neck getting on the chopping board and in turn prevents them from getting bored. Don't experiment at the expense of those who follow you. If you are going to change the trajectory of the team or business or family, don't do it knee jerk - go virtual, run scenarios, try it in a synthetic small scale reality before you put everyone onto a wing or a prayer for hope.
7. Operate at 70% capacity
The leaders running at 100% capacity is going to slip. The leader operating with margin is going to get the confidence of those they lead. This does not mean be slothful. It means to not be at the edge of emotional or physical exertion. To be intense and energised but to know, if the dial were to be turned up for a month, by 30%, you'd have the fuel for it.
8. Don't treat everyone as equal
Yeah, yeah I know... we're all equal but what I mean is that certain people have certain things to offer and others don't, and sometimes people are over committed trying to sort out their private life and can't invest in the work. You are better to work out the real workload an individual can offer, and pay them to go home early that to expect everyone to work the same intensity. So, how do you know who is ok and who is not? See how often they are smiling.... see how their face looks... see how the spring in their step is... watch what they eat and drink... don't, for goodness sake, ask them.
9. Love the job
The joy a dentist gets from pulling teeth is profound. Would you go to a dentist who hates teeth? Would you go to a motor mechanic who hates working on cars? Well if you don't love your work, whatever it is, people will not come to you and bingo, no leadership. Love it and link it.
10. Never fake it
The most ridiculous thing I've heard is a leadership training course. Leadership isn't difficult no need for training, just be authentic and be good. It's only when people are not good at what they do that they have to learn leadership. If you are a great gardener then people will love your work and you will lead. If you are a crappy gardener and hate that job, nobody will let you lead no matter how many courses you do.
From the heart of Chris