These guiding principles help good leaders become great. Read below to learn more about the leadership skills that will propel you to success.

 

Serve

Robert Greenleaf is considered the father of servant leadership, a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, build better organizations and ultimately create a more just and caring world. Or, more simply, you must put your team, organization, company, and employees’ needs before your own. This concept is one that I latched onto during my time as an Air Force Officer and one that I try to have my clients embody. I was taught this valuable lesson by one of the fiercest leaders I have ever had the chance to serve under. The man we will call Hop for the purposes of this post. 

 

Hop was the head of a 440+ person organization with bosses in Japan and Washington DC while performing his daily duties in Alaska. As you can imagine, this was quite the task. He was in the gym, setting the example at 5 am each morning. He would work 12 to 13 hour days, spend time with his children, and either take his work home or come back to the office to work until 8 or 9 in the evening on a regular basis. 

 

His ability to balance work and family had nothing to do with his time management skills.He was able to accomplish all of this due to his willingness to SERVE the over 400 people that worked for him. It was this mentality that led our organization to countless successes on a national and international level. As a junior executive for Hop, I observed this desire to serve and it pushed me to work harder to help meet requests and serve those that I was responsible for. 

 

Seek Guidance

Often times as a leader, we tend to overlook the fact that at times we do not always have the answers. In fact, most of the time we simply have a feeling that guides us. What happens when you have a massive decision to make? What about a new hire or to the need to fire an employee? Are there any new markets or verticles that your organization is looking to dive into? How will you know what decision to make? According to an article written by Harvard Business Review, “Those who are truly open to guidance (and not just looking for validation) develop better solutions to problems than they would come up with on their own. They add nuance and texture to their thinking—and, research shows, they can overcome cognitive biases, self-serving rationales, and other flaws in their logic.”

 

Seeking advice not only provides a clear picture without bias, it also allows for an outsider’s perspective to think about scenarios that you and your team may have overlooked. 

 

Enforce Standards

As a leader within your organization, it is impossible to achieve any of the goals you have for your team without the enforcement of standards. Regardless if you have the best subject matter experts in a given field, no matter how highly recommended and successful your lead point person is, without them knowing exactly what you expect from them, they will fail. 

 

For example, an Olympic rowing team has an understanding of exactly when they need to row, at what pace and when to increase that pace. Without specific instructions from the captain, their vessel would end up going in circles. This may seem like a simple lesson, but it is true. In order for your team to reach their highest potential, they must have guidance from their captain, you!

Set the Example

Ever heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Yeah, that does not work when you’re a true leader. When you are in a position of authority, especially in the corporate world, you are under a microscope, ALWAYS! Regardless if you know it or not, every move you make is being analyzed and discussed by those under you. If you are constantly showing up 5 mins late, people notice and that behavior will have a ripple effect on your organization. This sounds extremely simple, but those actions typically have the most profound effect. You cannot hold another grown adult to standards that you yourself are not willing to adhere to. 

 

Are you ready to finetune your leadership skills and increase the efficiency of your team? Contact me today for an initial consultation at chad@mitchellmanagement.com

 

Leadership Quote: 

 

A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu