When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Without question, there are a variety of ways to be a leader.
1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence. You need to invest the vast majority of your time and energy as a leader in three activities: evaluating, coaching and building the team’s self-confidence. Too often, managers think that people development occurs once a year in performance reviews.
2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it. As a leader, you have to make the vision come alive. Goals cannot sound noble yet be vague. One of the most common problems in organizations is that leaders communicate the vision to their closest colleagues and its implications never filter down to people in frontline positions.
3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism. An upbeat manager ends up running a team or organization filled with upbeat people. A pessimistic sourpuss somehow ends up with an unhappy tribe all his own
4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency and credit. Trust happens when leaders are transparent, candid and keep their word.
5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls. Some people long to be loved by everyone. Those behaviors can get you in the soup if you are a leader because there are times you have to make hard decisions — let people go, cut funding to a project or close a plant. A lot has been written about the mystery of gut, but it’s really just pattern recognition. Leaders are faced with gut calls all the time, and sometimes the hardest gut calls involve hiring people. However, if you’re left with that uh-oh feeling in your stomach, don’t hire the guy.
6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action. When you’re a leader, your job is to have all the questions. You have to be incredibly comfortable looking like the dumbest person in the room.
7. Leaders inspire risk-taking and learning by setting the example. Winning companies embrace risk-taking and learning. But in reality, these two concepts often get little else than lip service. If you want your people to experiment and expand their minds, set the example yourself. Consider risk-taking.
8. Leaders celebrate. There is not enough celebrating at work — anywhere. Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy.