What do you suppose is the most important thing leaders need to be doing?
If you are passionate about leadership, and I know you are, this question should automatically spur a lot of thoughts in your head. Some things that might come to mind right away are:
- Creating innovative strategies for the organization or business
- Foster team cohesion
- Develop the attitude of a change agent
- Create an environment of trust and approachability
- Inspire the team to do more and be more
- Facilitate coaching opportunities with the team
- Ensuring your family is taken care of
- Supporting those in need in times of crisis
While all of these are great examples of the important things a leader should be working on, there is one aspect that stands above all else. And I guess you could also say that some of these qualities are incorporated into this one thing.
“The most important thing leaders need to be doing is trying to become better leaders.” [Tweet This]
As a young leader, I gave little recognition to the fact that I was actually a leader. I didn’t completely understand what leadership was, other than telling people what to do. But, that isn’t what it is about at all. I made this huge mistake and it took me years and more than a few trials and errors to come to this realization. Looking back it pains me to think about the lives I have touched during this stage and the impact, positive or negative, that I had on them at a time when I was trying to learn.
How do leaders go about the business of becoming better leaders?
- Personal and professional development
If you are part of an organization, are you going to wait for your employer to support your leadership development? A lot of businesses realize the importance of training their leaders to be… leaders. This is important, but it is a mistake to wait for the employer to step up. Leadership development begins at home. We are family leaders first and that doesn’t change when we go to work. There are a number of things you can do to enhance your leadership before formal training is offered to you. Being a faithful reader of this blog is a great step in the right direction or doing a quick search on iTunes will turn up a plethora of podcasts offering a ton of value in this field as well.
- Teach and expansion of reach
I can’t think of a better way to influence another person than to teach and mentor. I thrive on mentoring and seek out opportunities to do so often. Mentoring will make you a better leader by allowing you to see the strength of your impact in action. Don’t wait to be sought out as a mentor either, as most won’t have the gumption to be up front and outright ask. Be the seeker. Look for an opportunity to step up and help someone go further. Beat them to the punch.
- Ask for and accept feedback
There are two factors in play here, asking and accepting. Have the humility to ask for the feedback you so rightly deserve, so then you should be open to accepting it as well. Asking for and receiving this necessary feedback is worthless if you won’t give yourself a chance to accept it. Accepting feedback is not the same as receiving it. Sometimes the truth hurts if you can find someone to give it to you, but the truth will set you free. And when you are free, you are also free to learn.
Why is it important to take your leadership seriously?
The reason I am stressing this is simple. Leadership is a lot of things to a lot of people. But most importantly, it is all about people. We can easily get a blurred vision and begin to lose clarity when we get lost in the strategic thought of leadership when, at its core, leadership is relational. People are what matters the most. This is the human capital you must invest in.
“Your decisions as a leader carry a lot of weight because lives are at stake.”
It is easy to forget about the repercussions of the decisions we make because we may not know what our people are dealing with. While we should strive to know them well, it is not always possible to be aware of everything they are dealing with. You can serve them better with the more knowledge you have.
I want to stress to leaders at all levels that your actions matter and are making an impact on someone’s life. That is a big deal and should not be taken lightly. This doesn’t just happen in the workplace, but at home too. The things you say and do travel much farther than you might think. It is important to be cognizant of this fact. Don’t let time come between you and the impact you’re capable of. Get serious about leadership. Lives are at stake.