Some people were born with natural leadership skills, some lead when the situation calls for it, and others don’t prefer the spotlight of leadership at all. None of these positions on being a leader are right, wrong, positive, or negative… it’s people, their preferences, and how they see themselves. Whether you’re in a professional position of leadership at your work, the janitor, or living your personal life it’s important to know… you can be a leader if you choose to be!
I encourage you to first define what leadership means for you. Too many times, people chase without defining. Whatever dream, goal, or vision you desire… start by specifically defining what it is. Knowing the specifics allow you to know when you’ve won and when to celebrate! Leading a team or your own personal life and relationships are not for the faint of heart. Some will jump in with both feet; while others will toe-test. Either way is a start and an opportunity to propel you further than you were yesterday. So, what’s my definition of leadership?
I define leadership in 5 words: influence, impact, protection, decide, and expectations. These simple, yet powerful words when done consistently will enhance not only your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony, but also impact those around you; creating win-wins! A win; as people in your professional and personal life begin to follow and become a student of YOU; while others in your circle of influence will fade; making more room for new inspired and motivated people to enter your world, professionally and personally!
Leader’s positively influence others toward the direction of the desired vision and goal. Leaders know the way and show the way… leading from the front; rather than cracking the whip from the back. Your people must respect and trust you; the only way that happens is when they see you leading from the front. To do so… you must know, share, and influence the Vision!
Too many times, I meet with organizations, executives, and coaches and they’re unaware or unclear of their vision for the company or team. If you don’t know… how can your people, how can you maintain expectations, and how will you know when you’ve won?
Positively influence your people by knowing and sharing your Vision and Vision Factors… the 3-5 things that when done consistently must make the Vision come true! Know and share your expectations for your team (professionally & personally), and be clear and realistic on your rules. I don’t suggest having a lot of rules. However, an organization without at least a few rules will become chaos and I promise you won’t be leading for long. In your personal life, leaders have rules of who you engage with, how you hang out, and what you tolerate. If you don’t know them for yourself… how can you expect others to honor them.
Be of Impact! Think of a past boss or coach that positively impacted your life. Perhaps it was something they said, something they taught you, how they disciplined you (we all need a butt-kicking from time to time). Do you remember them? Will you be this person for someone 5, 10, 20 years from now?
Be of impact… you never know what action will do this, but locking yourself away in your office and not engaging with others won’t get it done. Coming home from work complaining about your day and retreating to your bedroom for the rest of the night won’t get it done. Griping about the “Have-To’s” of your day and looking as if you’d rather be anywhere else other than your job or home won’t get it done. Be Mindful!
This is my favorite word of leadership and the one that is most forgotten. As a leader, it’s your job to protect! There will be times you must protect your people from themselves and their bad habits. You know who is habitually late, misses deadlines, and all of the other bad habits that have a negative impact. Protecting people from themselves means you set high expectations and standards, know and enforce the rules, and follow-through.
As a leader, you also must be willing to protect your people from you! You know when you’re having a bad day and it’s not the best time to have that difficult conversation, you know that employee or person in your life that will always say “Yes”; allowing you to burn them out. It’s your job as a leader to be more self-aware and understand… just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
Lastly, as a leader, you must protect your time. Your time is important and it’s imperative you organize your day to the best of your ability before the day starts and/or have time slots designated for the week to lead others with non-emergency issues, meetings, and follow-ups. Otherwise, you become a professional “Mr. or Ms. Fix-It” all day long, putting out every fire, getting nothing done, and you’ve trained followers not budding leaders. Remember, leaders build leaders, not followers!
As a leader, when you’re clear on your Vision, Expectations, and Rules… it makes it easier to know what to say “Yes” and “No “ to. When you make a decision be sure to be clear, optimistic, have your people in the right seat to maximize their superpower, and be willing to let the process evolve.
Although this is important… the Decision I’m referring to is the decision you make daily to enter your work, your relationships, and your life with your head up, eyes up, smiling, willing to DO your best, and BE your best! When you can positively connect with the people in your life, professionally & personally, know your craft better than those around you, and are your best self consistently… it’s amazing who will follow, how much more your people will do for you and with you, and how much they’ll forgive when you mess up!
A leader that sets no expectations or consequences will not be leading for long! I’m very oppositional by nature and even writing the word rules or consequences makes me cringe. However, the truth is, if you don’t have them you cannot and will not achieve your vision or live the lifestyle of your dreams. Simply put, a vision without expectations is just hope; and expectations without consequences are merely suggestions. You’re suggesting people do a good job, show up on time, meet deadlines, follow through on things discussed, treat you properly, and respectfully.
Now you know my definition of leadership. I hope it resonates with you; taking all of it or pieces of it to enhance your leadership and work/life harmony and that of those on your team professionally and personally. Enjoy your evolution!
As a leader, when you’re clear on your Vision, Expectations, and Rules… it makes it easier to know what to say “Yes” and “No “ to.
– Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your organization, your leaders, employees, and teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Program (on-site, online, or virtual), and 1-on-1 Growth Sessions! Click www.youevolvingnow.com to find out more, connect, and book!