Leadership 101

simple insights for those in leadership

Tuesday Thots | The Five Huge Little Things Good Leaders Do

The Five Huge Little Things Good Leaders Do

We all read a lot about the “big” stuff that makes a good leader.  We need to cast vision.  We need to be people of integrity.  We need to build productive teams.  And all good leaders do these things.  But there are at least five things good leaders do that others don’t always see.  Things that are “little” things in comparison to casting vision for the organization.

Good leaders learn to master communication. 
I’m not talking about making good presentations, as important as that is.  Communication is a process involving two or more people where is information is exchanged, processed and understood properly.  Good leaders get this.  They don’t have the “hard” conversations via email.  They have them face-to-face.  They listen more than they speak.  They repeat what they believe they hear so as to make sure that they and everyone else has processed everything correctly.  They’ve learned how to use email, texting, phone calls, Twitter, etc. all well.  They make sure that people who need information have it and aren’t left in the dark.  They solicit information and opinions so as to make informed decisions that affect everyone.  They have learned that their ability to master the art of communication and all of its facets reflects heavily the on success of the organization and the overall morale of the people.

Good leaders learn to walk slowly through the crowd.
Leaders lead people, not organizations.  All leaders are in the people business.  I remember John Maxwell telling a story about when he first hired a new Executive Pastor at his church.  On the first day the new guy walked right past John and all the people John was talking with and headed straight to his office.  When John finished the conversation, he walked to the new guy’s office and asked him what he was doing.  The response was, “I’m getting to work.”  John responded with, “You just passed your work!”  Good leaders learnt he art of emotional labor.  Seth Godin does an outstanding job speaking to this issue in his book, Linchpin.  The leader walks slowly through the crowd, knows his people, builds into their lives with words of encouragement, time invested, appropriate touches of affirmation (nothing like a good pat on the back), and big smiles.

Good leaders are learners and readers.
The moment you stop learning, you stop leading.  Good leaders know that and are constantly reading, allowing themselves to be stretched with new and fresh ideas, and allow other voices into their lives to challenge them and their thoughts so that they night learn.  It really is a simply formula.  The world is changing around us very rapidly.  To not be learning quickly finds us left behind.  And one can’t lead from the behind. The good leader, although there’s really never enough time, finds the time to be reading and learning so they can continue leading.

Good leaders are on-time and prepared.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but it drives me insane when someone can’t wait in line with everyone else.  We have one stretch of road near where I live that backs up every day (OK, technically, most of the roads around here back up every day).  People wait in the line as two lanes merge into one and ultimately open up onto another road.  But for some people, its OK to bypass everyone else just sitting their in line waiting by driving up the shoulder or whatever to the front.  Somehow their time is more valuable than everyone else’s who is sitting their  in the traffic and moving slowly.  I think leaders some times fall into this trap, too.  We want people to be at our meetings on time.  But its okay if we’re running a little late because, after all, we’re the leader and we have important stuff going on.  Every time the leader is late, she says to her people, “My time is more valuable than yours.”  The good leader shows up to meetings early and well prepared.  Agendas go out ahead of time so those attending can come prepared, knowing what to expect and ready to enter the discussions intelligently.  John Maxwell once said that for the leader to be on time, he must be there fifteen minutes early. Any later than that is late.  What do you do with that fifteen minutes? Make sure you’re prepared and invest it in “walking slowly through the crowd” as everyone comes in.  You can’t do that when you’re rushing in late.

Good leaders master their schedules.
Good leaders have learned discipline and have learned how to gain control over their schedules instead of allowing their schedules to control them.  They learn to say “no.”  They learn to prioritize. They learn to stay organized, to plan out their days, to plan time into their schedules for the unexpected.  Good leaders don’t miss appointments and meetings. They don’t miss assignments and tasks.  And they don’t forfeit their families on the alter of work. They do figure out how to master all of it.

Those are five “little” things that are huge for the leader to master.  I’m still working on some of them.  How are you doing with these five things?  What are some other “little” things the leader needs to master that I missed?

Advertisements

October 18, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: