Great leadership is not the visit of an unexpected fate
but rather a flame which is kept burning
in spite of the winds of risk and opposition.
Mary Anne Radmacher
How are your leadership skills? Does it ever feel like there is a giant gap between you and your team? Here are some quick pointers on how to get back on the same proverbial page, and on the same team pursuing the same vision.
1. Learn to say, “I don’t know.”
If you do not actually know the answer to a question, don’t try to bluff your way through. If you are at fault, take the hit. If you were wrong, apologize. If you don’t have the answer at your fingertips then, assure them that you will get back to them with the answer within a specific time-frame.
2. Can the gossip.
Never gossip! If someone wants to gossip with you, politely say that you are not interested. There is an old corporate adage that says that when someone gossips, two careers are hurt, the person talked about, and the person talking.
3. Roll up your sleeves
No task is really beneath you. Do not buy into the mindset that as the leader, you are above anything. Be the primo example and pitch in, especially if the job is one that nobody wants to do.
4. Give credit. At the very least, share it.
Share the credit whenever possible. A manager who spreads credit around looks much stronger than those who take all the credit themselves.
5. Get some help
Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you think you may be in over your head, then you are probably correct! Ask for some help and you will almost always find that most people enjoy lending a hand. Besides saving yourself some embarrassment, you will cultivate an ally.
6. Don’t discuss salaries
The discussion about how much you’re making is a no-win proposition. Either you will become upset because someone is doing better than you, or someone else will be upset with you for making more.
7. Don’t burn bridges
When you do not like someone, you don’t necessarily have to show it all the time. Especially in your workplace. This is even more true if you “outrank” them. Never burn all of your bridges or offend others needlessly as you move ahead.
8. Let go
What you feel shouldn’t happen, often does. You didn’t get the assignment you wanted, you were passed over for the promotion that you feel you deserved. Buck up. Be gracious and diplomatic, and move on. Nursing a grudge will not move your career ahead.
9. Be gracious in winning
When you are correct, do not gloat! The only time you should ever use the phrase, “I told you so” is if someone says something like, “You were right. I really could succeed at that ______.”
10. Ask the right questions, and listen carefully to the answers
If you are really interested in learning what is going on with the “troops,” ask questions as you travel through your day. Questions like:
- What is working well in the way we/ you are doing things?
- What parts seem redundant or need to be tweaked?
- What pissed the customers off today?
- Which jobs involved too many people?
- Which functions involved too many actions?
- What “silliness” do we need to eliminate?
Armed with questions such as these, you should get a pretty accurate reading of the health of your business or organization, and of your teammates. It will also help everyone gain insight into what is working for your customers. What better way to know how your business is functioning, and where it needs tweaking?
Wisdom is not hidden The wisdom of good leadership is readily available. It is all around you every day, all day long. But, you need to consciously make the time to open your eyes and ears and absorb it.