How to Show Up Like a Leader Today
Some leaders work too hard while the people around them don’t work hard enough.
You’ll burn out if you’re always the first person to arrive and the last person to leave.
Leaders create environments.
You had a hand in creating the environment you work in.
Leaders have a hand in the way people:
- Respond to problems.
- Relate to each other.
- Pursue excellence.
- Deliver results.
The more authority you have, the more power you have to create environments.
Principle: The best leaders show up to bring out the best in others.
Get your head out of the weeds and focus on people.
Create environments where people thrive.
#1. Show up to help others get things done.
Successful leaders think first about helping others get things done. Overworked leaders think first about getting things done.
You’re on the wrong track if your day begins with results, not people. Inept leaders put their heads down and deliver results.
The leader’s job is people.
The answer is “who”, not “what”. Begin your day asking, “How might I enable, engage, and empower others?”
Leaders get lost in the weeds when they focus on their own work instead of the work of others.
#2. Show up to run great meetings.
You know the meeting will suck if the room is quiet at the beginning.
Great meetings begin with laughter, banter, and storytelling.
The most important question leaders neglect is, “How do I want people to feel in the meeting?”
Impersonal efficient meetings suck the life out of everyone around the table. They’re dry, dull, predictable, and lifeless.
Great meetings are about the people at the table, not just the projects or problems on the agenda.
Take a few minutes at the beginning of meetings to connect, honor, and energize participants.
Great teams care about each other.
How might leaders show up to help others get things done?
How might leaders show up to run great meetings?
Great question–The most important question leaders neglect is, “How do I want people to feel in the meeting?”
Delegate–assign others the task of leading the discussion and getting closure on various agenda items. .
Thanks Paul. YES. If you want people to be engaged then engage them early and often. Plan the engagement of others, if you don’t, it won’t happen.
Dan, this is a really interesting piece. The standout part is about meetings where the start/setup of a meeting is about doing things to “… connect, honor, and energize participants…”
For external meetings, whether with customers, suppliers and even regulatory auditors, we do a superb job of achieving this. For internal meetings we simply do not seem able to. Whether this is because everyone already knows one another or because internal meetings are usually about the fallout of failures rather than building wins I don’t know, but it’s a trend I’m noticing. Something to try to turn around!
Thanks Mitch. Brilliant observation.
I recently kicked a meeting off with this question. “How are you like one of your parents?” Everyone in the meeting already knows each other. But it was interesting to hear them talk. I followed up with, “How does this help you contribute to this organization?”
As usual, great article Dan.
Although not to do with this article, allow me a simple suggestion: such interesting content would have greater audience if it could be read in other languages, spanish in particular. Many professionals here in Spain don’t read English very well so they miss out completely. Just my 5 cents….
Thanks Fernando. I appreciate your suggestion. Perhaps one day, that will happen. I haven’t used Googles page translator. How does that work, if you know?
I am afraid I can’t help but anyone that is minimally computer/html literate should. Your platform provider (WordPress?) might have some utility or plugin that does just that “the easy way”.
Great article! The principle you highlight at the beginning is the key for me. “Principle: The best leaders show up to bring out the best in others.” Isn’t this what LEADERSHIP IS ALL ABOUT??? People in Leadership positions need to recite this when they wake in the morning or whenever they wake as well as when they arrive at their workplace. Bringing out the BEST in people is not a simple as the words flowing from your mouth or in your thoughts. It might require actually knowing your people. This would require communicating with them in ways that respect them and at a level they can comprehend. While doing so, put the ego off to the side. There is this growing narcissistic aura among those in leadership positions that are repugnant, offensive and creates barriers to greater accomplishment and commitment to the goals of the organization.
Powerful comment Gregory! One practical takeaway for me is to rehearse the mantra “My job is to bring out the best in others,” when I wake up at night!!
Many of the things that wake leaders up at night about controlling things. The next time you wake up with stress just ask yourself, “How might I bring out the best in others?”
“Successful leaders think first about helping others get things done. Overworked leaders think first about getting things done.” Servant leadership is underrated. Hire people that are smarter than you, help them be successful and watch the whole team be successful. Thanks for focusing on this today. I also like your tip about how to start meetings.
Thanks Patrick. All we need to do is not be intimidated by smart talented people! 🙂
Intimidation is part of the problem, I believe prepare yourself to learn, providing the “smarter” are willing to share their expertise. As Leaders we need to constantly be on top of the knowledge base as things change way to fast with technology.
Here’s a quote I love and have been waiting to work into a post. At the start of every day I remind myself to try and think like a teacher.
“Leaders teach. Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address provided an extraordinary example of the leader as teacher. Teaching and leading are distinguishable occupations, but every great leader is clearly teaching— and every great teacher is leading. —John W. Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1965-1968 (Gardner 1986, 19)
Pops, Gerald M. (2012-08-14). Ethical Leadership in Turbulent Times: Modeling the Public Career of George C. Marshall (p. 169). Rowman & Littlefield. Kindle Edition.
Great article. I read on my kindle all the time and I found myself trying to highlight almost every other sentence of this blog. I never looked at the fact leaders create an environment of producing results. That was really good, I always believed leaders put their heads down and get to work and everyone else will follow. But leading is much more than efficiency, analysis, and processes. We have to focus on the internal systems of people and how they operate especially in a work environment.
This is really good! Thanks
When we focus on the internal systems of people and how they operate especially in a work environment , It’s all about communication, education and leading by example. People whom we lead have great talents and are waiting for the opportunity to be recognized and trusted with their contributions of their talents to the business.
Love the blog .. so relevant to many of the teams I work with.
Two questions i’d value people’s thoughts on… 1.how are you successfully help leaders get their heads out of the doing and focused on leading?
2. Everyone seems so busy today… what do you see as the root causes? Too much to do? Lack of clear focus?
ead2013, to answer your questions #1 leaders need to delegate to have others become the “Doers”. #2 Root causes of busy can be multiple, corporate not adding expecting others to handle the load which can lead to “Burn outs” in workers being over tasked, so learning to distribute the workload as needed. “Focus comes from corporate or workers, as whose job is it, so defining jobs and tasks could clean this up from my perspective. hope this helps you?
I know I find myself struggling to relax at times. The other day, I was out at a Unit doing a few hours of shadowing and learning about the unit. I was there for about 3-4 hours. I had some co-workers there with me and they were joking around a lot (they were all friends) with the unit. I found myself thinking “I need to get this done… I need to do this… and this… I need to get out of here and do this…” I could not relax and enjoy myself. I did connect and joke around too, but I did not feel as relaxed as everyone else. I was worried the whole time about so many other things that I could not just be in the moment. I feel like this is the same for the beginning of some meetings too. I forget to relax and enjoy the company. Thanks for reminding me to do this and how important it is.
I particularly appreciate #2 about leading great meetings. I’m participate in several conference calls each week, some as the call leader. What might you suggest to create engagement with participants to make calls more meaningful and worthwhile?
How might you prepare the participants to engage in the meeting, before the meeting?