Updated: Mar 14, 2019
I just returned from an incredible conference with the John Maxwell Team. If you do not know who John Maxwell is, he is the top leadership expert in the world and will be receiving the prestigious 2019 Horatio Alger Award. All that to say, as part of the John Maxwell team, I had the great opportunity to get poured into over a few days by some the worlds top leaders. As I am processing through all the notes I took, I wanted to share a few lessons and principles that I am thinking on.
As you know, in leadership, you are either growing or dying. Everything really does rise and fall on leadership. And wherever you are in the organization, you have the ability to lead and influence. Which means, just like me, you need to continue to grow and stretch.
Here are a few take aways for you to think about and implement:
1. People are Different
People are different, but that doesn't mean that people are wrong. Part of being a good leader is to embrace the differences on the team. To leverage the uniqueness and strengths of people. So how do you lean into the differences in order to all move forward?
One word - Communication. Could it be that the reason a team doesn't work well together is because of a lack of good communication? Where there is good communication there is alignment. One way to build communication is to use a tool like the DISC Assessment (https://www.andygeorgecoaching.com/disc). When we better understand the different personalities on the team we are able to not only better communicate, but we are able to create environments that generate power. Where there is agreement there is power, where there is disagreement there is a lack of power. Good communication and an awareness of how we are wired create healthy environments.
Most anything that you read about leadership will eventually talk about Vision. Without vision you and the organization will perish. This is true whether you are leading with the vision you have or you are carrying the vision of someone else.
Two Reasons to Have Vision:
A. Vision inspires you and gives you energy.
B. Vision provides guidance and gives you clarity on strategy.
One Key Essential to Vision:
The healthiest way to cast vision and lead vision is to value people. When people believe you value them it is amazing how far they will follow you.
When you get a clear vision you have to steward it. Everything you do needs to align with this vision. Here are five ways to focus on vision:
A. Clarify It. Spend time processing and thinking through that passion and direction you are feeling. Vision needs to be clearly seen and spelled out so that people can follow.
B. Communicate It. For vision to be known and followed it needs to be said, then said again, and again, and again, over and over again. The trick is for those who are leading with the vision to stay passionate while saying the same thing over and over again.
C. Commit To It. This requires embracing the opportunities and engaging in the discipline to see the vision all the way through.
D. Challenge It. Put the vision to the test. A major way to do this is to challenge and test everything you do through the lens and filter of the vision. Does your calendar, meetings, programs, etc... match and accomplish the vision?
E. Champion It. You have to own and live the vision. If you do not own the vision there will quickly become vision drift in your team and organization. When everyone else is losing sight of the vision, it is up to the leader to champion the vision and realign everyone back under that vision umbrella.
3. Identify the Problem
One of the most important things a leader does is not only identify a problem but also work towards solving the problem. This is why a leader must have courage. In any organization there are and will be problems. As the leader you probably already see the problems. But do you have the courage to solve the problem? This is what leaders do. This is the weight and pressure of being the leader. Whenever a leader steps out to solve a problem there will be resistance and criticism. This is why it is so critical to build value into the people you lead.
The people on your team have the ability to lead and carry the vision with you. One of the highest callings you have as a leader is to unlock the potential in others. When there is a problem that needs to be solved there is a great opportunity for not only you, but the people you lead to rise to the occasion.
Now, let's put all of this together. The more you embrace the differences of those you lead allows and builds trust. When you lead with vision the people will follow the leader that they trust. Vision that is led with clarity and conviction will maintain the team and efforts through problem solving. You and your team will grow together as vision and problem solving give opportunities for you and your people to rise to their potential in leadership.
I hope this has encouraged and challenged you like it did me. I really do hope this added value to you and pushed you to know your team. To be clear on the vision and are able to communicate it clearly with conviction. To identify the problem and are working on steps and strategy to solve the problem.