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Fast Leadership

A random walk through the leadership maze.

Search “leadership” on Amazon and you’ll find several thousand books on the subject. Even more than on “How to make a million in real estate”.

Many are all well argued. Some draw on great historical examples, others quote celebrity CEOs. A few are inspirational. Yet most are hard to put into practice. With leadership, as with real estate, there’s no silver bullet.

What if you just need to get on with it?

A survey of leadership literature suggests five simple steps.

Get clarity

If you are going to lead people somewhere, you need to know where that is. Sounds simple but a lack of clarity kills momentum. Ever sat in one of those meetings where discussion never ends? It’s because the meeting had no clear question to answer.

Ask the question. Where do you want to go? Is it solving a particular customer’s problem, building market share, boosting innovation or some big strategic issue? Whatever it is, get it clear and it gets easier.

Get authentic

Take an honest look at what you are really good at. If you are not sure, ask some people you trust to tell you. You are not Steve Jobs. You are you. Decide to do you really well.

Once you know that, you’ll know what your role is. Lead with those strengths. That way you’ll make your strongest contribution. By doing the bit you do well there’s less chance you’ll stuff it up.

Get help

You have to get other people to do the things you are not good at. So have a team and believe in them.

You are now well on your way. The next step is the hardest part and it’s the core of leadership.

Forget yourself

There’s a very simple way to do that: help others. Great leaders grow great people. By helping others to shine, the whole team rises, including the leader. We know the importance of quality time with children. Try it with your team.

That’s how successful people earn the moniker of being a great leader. They don’t talk about “I”. They talk about “we”. Who would you rather follow? If you are going to lead, that’s the sort of person you need to be.

If you’ve got all that right, you might now want to strut your stuff. There’s a way to do that without losing your humility.

Take action

Look at what you can authentically bring to the table by doing all of the above. It might be a solution to an existing problem, or something that leads in a new direction. Propose an initiative that’s good for your organisation, your customers and your people. Everyone except you.

Put it forward. Brainstorm it with your team. Step up to the plate and take responsibility for it. It’s not about you. It’s about serving. Not every idea will fly, but do it a few times and you will notice a change. Things will start getting done. And people will occasionally associate your name with the L word. 

By all means, read inspiring leadership books. But if you just want to get on with leading, try five simple steps: get clarity, be authentic, get help and give help. Then use all that as a platform for action.


Reader Comments (4)

You're right about books on making a million out of real estate. I've been to several seminars about that. Still waiting to make my million. Same goes for all the people I did the workshops with.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob Emery

I made a million out of real estate. All I did was buy a house about 23 years ago.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVanillaCafe

Same goes for leadership. Just keep at it. I've been in leadership positions since boy scouts. Sometimes I've led pretty well. Sometimes not. These days I'm better at it.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobbie B

Good post. There's one really good thing about your take on leadership. When you do it for others, you take yourself off yourself. That leaves everyone, including me, free to get on with it.

March 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Macleod

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