Here is my list of 16 very quick ways to achieve great leadership. Focus on these areas to improve your overall leadership presence and capabilities.
Show up with real presence
Showing up is 80 percent of the battle. If you aren’t showing up with real presence don’t show up at all. Real presence is that feeling other people have when they are around you, they trust you and they want to follow you.
People love it when you smile. Before a meeting think of something that brings happy thoughts that will show through your smile. Smiling at people makes them feel better, just not the crazy eyes smile that makes people uncomfortable. When you smile make sure it is genuine, they will know the difference.
Show up dressed to lead
Unfortunately the first thing people notice about you is your outward appearance. This includes the ‘smile more’ tip above. Beyond the facial expressions and body language you give off you want your clothes, jewelry, hair, make-up and tattoos to indicate you have leadership presence. Cover up tattoos and make sure your accessories and make-up are tastefully done.
Leadership at its core is about influence and the foundation to influence is trust. If they don’t trust you, you cannot influence them. Cultivating trust requires competence and character. Make sure what you are saying and doing demonstrates your competence and character.
Build a real team
The glue the binds a team together is a common and compelling purpose that is based on shared values. A real team is one who believes they will truly succeed or fail together and that no one individual can win if the team loses. Cover the rules of engagement and make sure everyone has a clear understanding of how they can work together.
Build your network
Every leader requires the support and collaboration of outside people. Think bigger than the current needs of today and make sure your network can help support your long-term goals.
Stop settling for the status quo. Take your goals and initiatives and then super-size them.
Build more leaders
Succession planning is more important now than ever. Build your leadership bench and make sure you are training your replacement. Your ultimate goal is to put yourself out your current job.
Don’t just care about your people inside your head. Let it out and let them see you care. You can do this with morning greetings, saying thank you and taking an interest in what they do both inside and outside of work.
Use your vacation time
If you aren’t taking down-time you will lose your creativity and you may even become grumpy. But what is worse is your people may mistakenly think they shouldn’t take their time off either.
Prune early and often
You have to get rid of the dead weight. This frees you up to move your B players to A players and to on-board new hires correctly. Evaluate your team often and prune those who are not showing the commitment necessary to be successful.
Invest more in the hiring process
Hiring is the most important job you have. If you hire right you won’t have to prune later. Spend time training others how to interview and make sure the job description is correctly aligned to the reality of the job. Have interview questions that will help you uncover if someone is the right fit. Make sure your interview includes determining if someone is a culture fit.
Increase your passion by setting out to do something significant
You have to be energized by something in order to be a great leader. More often than not, our passion explodes when trying to solve a problem. Find your significant something, then light your match to create a passion explosion.
Paint a clear vision and outline the path for execution
Leadership is the imagination of something better and then being able to paint a compelling picture for others to see so they will want to join in on the effort. Painting a clear picture of the future and then outlining a path to take you there is essential to great leadership.
Polish your communication skills
Everything a leader accomplishes comes from being able to communicate with others. A leader has to communicate the vision, communicate feedback and communicate changes in direction. Polish your communication skills to ensure everyone has a clear understanding of the who, what, when, where and why of your vision.
Go larger than life on meaning
Meaning and purpose foster engagement. Most employees value jobs that let them contribute and make a difference. Incentives will only work to a degree and will always work with employees who just aren’t committed. Go bigger by inspiring them with the vision, challenge them with goals and always inflate their confidence to the point where they believe they can really win.
What would you add to the list?