This is a working document on leadership that I seek to emulate. Over the years, I have added to it or modified it based on what speaks to my heart about how I want to be led and how I want to lead. They are as follows:
Serve. Remove obstacles that prevent people from doing their best work, having fun and succeeding. Give them the credit.
Do the work. Get into the nitty-gritty and work alongside people, which helps to motivate them and create a sense of shared responsibility and involvement.
Invest. Give others responsibilities, opportunities and fun things that stretch their abilities and give them new experiences. Leave a legacy by teaching them how to work, manage and lead.
Autonomy. Tell them what needs to be done and let them figure out how to do it. Wanna kill their interest…sap their will power to sustain through the tough stretches? Then start controlling and ordering them around.
Reluctantly take control. Choose the circumstances carefully when top-down leadership is required.
Leadership is fluid. Leaders can emerge within groups for certain tasks, which is what you want and the best way to get things done.
No hierarchies. Don’t do things that automatically sends messages about who has more value and who has less value, like giving some people private offices and others only cubicles. That kind of environment demeans others. Either everyone gets an office, or no one gets an office.
Get input. No one person can know everything or has the complete perspective to properly see all sides of a situation. It really takes involvement and input from everyone in a company to make good decisions.
Get past ourselves. Get past thinking of yourselves as just a bunch of individuals who work together and thinking more like a team that backs each other up. To do this, use the Invest principles. Another way: pay attention to people’s inconsistencies, and notice when they are avoiding conflict, not speaking up, or pulling back from involvement/participation. Everyone needs to get things out on the table and discuss their differences openly.
Know people. Get to know people so that you can better tailor your interactions based on their personal and professional styles. This makes you and them more productive.
What would my replacement do? Asking this question helps take the emotion out of decisions and put in objectivity. The assumption is that if you were replaced by a new outside leader, they would not have (or have much less of) the emotional ties to the position, company, employees, culture and traditions, which might cloud their judgment about making the best decision for the company.
Vision, Mission/Values, Strategy, Goals and Culture. Know the differences between each one and how they interact and support each other.
Be inquisitive. Get in the habit of asking questions and loving learning; that helps to solve problems and take on opportunities in different ways.
Be creative. Always look for better ways to do things. Don’t tolerate “that’s the way it’s done” thinking.
Never settle. Always improve it; make it better. Good enough should be temporary, because you may just need to get it done and out the door. Mediocrity is the wide and easy road.
Trust. Do what you say you will do. Don’t talk about others behind their backs. Share information. And, don’t ever throw someone in front of the bus.
Care. Care for others as much as you would care for your loved ones.
Fun. If you’re not experiencing joy in your work, then you’re certainly not giving it, either. Figure out what’s wrong, fix it or get out, fast!
Do I live up to these principles? Heck no! But only with the Lord’s help can I try! Leadership is hard because pride gets in the way. That’s just one of the ugly and consistent truths about human nature.
Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.