As we continue to use Dr. Jim Laub‘s servant leadership assessment tool that gauges organizational health, the fifth thing that great leaders do differently is they provide leadership. Before we dive in, lets review the six foundational things that great leaders do differently.
- They Display Authenticity
- They Value People
- They Develop People
- They Build Community
- They Provide Leadership (today’s focus below)
- They Share Leadership
How do they provide leadership that really makes them stand out from the rest?
While there are countless ways they may do this, the most influential leaders consistently act on these three things.
1.) They envision the future (vision) and inspire others to do the same.
We hear so much about how leaders need to “motivate their teams.” No duh. But you can try to pound into a person’s noggin’ all the motivation you want; none of it will stick if the person you’re trying to motivate doesn’t buy into your vision. So how do you get people to hop on the wagon?
Inspiration in its most authentic form appeals on an emotional level. To truly get your people to buy into your vision (instead of doing it with fear and coercion), you need to capture their attention and play on the heartstrings of what motivates them.
This is not manipulation, it’s putting a great importance on them as valued tribe members. It shows you care enough about them to grant them V.I.P. pass on your long-term strategy — a field level seat right behind the home dugout.
Try this inspirational tactic sometime: as you paint a picture of your vision, share the decision-making with high potentials. Give them shovels and pickaxes to work alongside you in making it a reality. That’s empowerment, and you have inspired them on an emotional level.
2.) They take initiative (action).
The best leaders won’t sit on decisions waiting for urgency to come knocking. They take risks and create urgency with intent and purpose, driving the bus closer toward the mission.
Don’t confuse this with the flying-by-the-seat-of-his-pants leader (or leadership team) that steamrolls ahead without soliciting varied perspectives, and getting enough feedback and buy-in before taking impulsive actions that may hurt the company.
And unlike some detached and disengaged command-and-control leaders who may burn bridges and throw an occasional person under the bus to fulfill a personal agenda, leaders who lead and serve take initiative with fierce resolve and humility. They are crazy-driven and want results, but not at the expense of people. They balance personal will and commitment with the best interest of their tribe members in mind.
3.) They clarify goals and expectations
Great leaders provide leadership by communicating consistently about where the bus is headed.
A Gallup research study that I have mentioned before measured the top reasons employees are disengaged, leading to turnover. One of the top five reasons? Not having clear goals and expectations.
Before getting your team on the bus, every manager should be asking the question: do my team members know what is expected of them? Gallup’s research shows that many great workplaces have defined the right outcomes; leaders/managers will set goals for their people or work with them to set their own goals. They do not just define the job, but define success on the job.
Discussion: What are some good examples of leaders you may know or have heard about, who provide excellent leadership? How do they do it?
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