7 Ways to Become a Leader Today, Even if you Already Have a Corner Office
The things you do alone, with few exceptions, are not leadership.
Busyness doesn’t make you a leader, even though leaders work hard.
Not a leader:
- Sign papers in your office.
- Complete a project by yourself.
- Wonder what ‘they’ are doing about the dark cloud hovering over the team.
- Develop a plan and give it to your team.
- Solve problems and answer questions all day.
- Explain why something can’t be done.
- Sit in silence when patterns of failure emerge.
- Complain, blame, and gossip.
- Ignore that uneasy feeling in your gut.
- Tell someone what to do.
- Wait to be told what to do.
- Go home wondering what you did all day. (Leadership is intentional, not accidental.)
Getting things done doesn’t mean you’re leading.
Leaders do everything on the above list. But you aren’t a leader, even if you have a corner office, if the 12 things on the list are patterns in your work-life.
7 ways to become a leader today:
- Help others serve others. Turn from focusing on yourself.
- Seize an opportunity, rather than solve a problem.
- Fuel energy in others. Forget about motivating people. Think inspiration.
- See the best in someone, rather than the worst. (Reflect: How does seeing the worst get you what you want?)
- Take someone to the next level in their management or leadership.
- Engage in forward-facing curiosity.
- Connect. Leadership is done in connection, not isolation.
4 things leaders usually do alone:
- Reconnect with God, purpose, and self.
- Evaluate impact on others. (At least as a start. Others will be helpful with this.)
- Give space for others to test their wings without meddling.
- Relax and recharge. (Especially for introverts.)
What behaviors in organizational life seem like leadership, but aren’t?
Which ‘become a leader’ question seems most important to your leadership at this moment?
I enjoy reading, but I don’t always have time to read all the books that interest me. READITFOR.me works for me.
One of my favorite features of READITFOR.me is the 12 minute video that summarizes an entire book. Click here to check out a special offer for Leadership Freak readers. I hope you’ll watch the video summary.
Pour into your leadership if you expect amazing results from your leadership.
Ouch! This one stings a little.
Thanks Jordan. I feel your pain.
One of the greatest things a leader can do is teach others to be successful. I have an employee that is very good at what he does, except teaching his subordinates to be successful. He is a constant source of frustration to his subordinates because he is very quick to say no, but rarely teaches employees how to get to yes. So, with an eye toward not “wonder[ing] what ‘they’ are doing about the dark cloud”, I included improving this tendency as a concrete performance objective in the face-to-face counseling we conducted at the beginning of the evaluation period. Gradually, we are turning the corner and he is becoming more prone to “[h]elp others serve others.”
Point #7 in becoming a leader today, connect, is incredibly important. With positive or negative actions, it is necessary to connect with the team. Leaders must engage in a variety of communication forms and caring follow-up based on that communication signals with actions, not only words, what is really important… the PEOPLE who do the work that makes the team successful.
Thanks R.A. I really enjoyed your insights. In particular “caring follow-up” feels very powerful. The combination of words reminds me of the attitude to have when following up. It helps to think of follow-up as another aspect of connecting with others.
I wanted to add a thought to your great post. I would occasionally use this technique to help develop my staff.
If my in box of mail had accumulated due to travel or whatever, I would have one of my staff come in and we would sort through it together. Some items were just junk, but different junk than they received. Some items were more important and we would discuss them. In an unrehearsed atmosphere I would learn something by their reactions and hopefully they learned something as well. This also would lead to them following up later to see how a particular item was resolved.
This also showed trust in them by showing them something above their current job but that might give them more insight as they moved up the corporate ladder.
Brad James, author The Business Zoo
Thanks James. Your insights are helpful. Leaders ‘do with’. That’s what I took from your comment. There’s real power in being included. We feel like we belong. We feel like we matter. We feel like we are part of the inner circle. Cheers
Leaders should also work on their communication skills. An influential person has excellent communication skills.
Thanks Self… Much appreciate your contribution.
The corner office is too lonely. I am much more engaged and energized when I employ “Management by Walking Around!” I got to start the day with a team focused on trying to incorporate our organizational value of Accountability into the every day. Moving from there to having to work through the mundane pieces of my responsibility is painful. Hurts even more when I watch our “leadership” use the corner office as an escape.
Working to influence from the middle can be heavy lifting…
Thanks Ken. I find your contribution encouraging! Thanks for moving the ball downt the field.
Loved Readitfor.me. I am a slow reader, and this is perfect for me! Im signing up.