Standout leadership doesn’t have to be complicated; it doesn’t have to conform to doctrine advocated by leadership gurus and HR pundits who advocate a more theoretical model.
In my experience, leadership that sets you apart from the crowd boils down to how well you practice a few basic human acts, not on how well you comply with text book principles.
- Help others. It’s a basic human instinct to come to the aid of someone in need. When refugees from another country needs help, many in the world respond in a caring way. In an organization, it doesn’t happen as much. When someone suffers a setback we seem to pounce on the opportunity to use their misfortune as a personal opportunity.
- Walk in their footsteps. It’s not all about the business; it’s more about the people IN the business. Decisions get implemented only if people are on board with them. Consider how individuals will be impacted before moving forward.
- Practice what you preach. ALWAYS show that you only ask others to do what you are prepared to do yourself. Loyal followers are created when they see you act on your own words.
- Keep your promises. If you say you will do something make sure you DO it. When you open your mouth others watch your follow up to see if your intent was honest.
- Leave the glory to others. Your glory comes only through the success of your employees. Lavish them with praise. Your ego will understand.
- Show your emotional side. Real people express their feelings; plastic people hide them. “Expose” yourself to others and watch the magic you create.
- Look in their eyes and take notes. Paying attention to and showing interest in what people have to say will ignite their passion. A simple act; an amazing impact.
- Say “thank you” a lot. It makes their hard work and pain endured worth it. And it provides fuel for them to do it again.
- Share your status in the hierarchy. Everyone understands the organizational pecking order. But if you share some of your special privileges, THEY get to feel important and will engage on a higher level.
- Call someone… everyday. It’s important to connect and engage with people in your organization. Make a point of reaching out to a different person daily and have a conversation about what’s going on with them. You will gain incredible insights into what is going on in your organization, and THEY will transformed into a loyal follower.
Common leaders have a good foundation of leadership theory. Standout leaders practice their art from their heart.