TOP TEN RULES FOR HIGHLY EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
Todd Dewett | November 15, 2021
Let’s get practical. What is it that very successful leaders do? I’m referring to behavioral tendencies – the way they typically do things. I’ve thought about this issue a great deal, and I’m convinced there are more than ten answers! But we have to start somewhere, so here are my top ten rules for highly effective leaders.
Be an example. Actions really do speak louder than words. You can talk all day, but how you behave is what really makes an impact. So, be quiet a bit more and just walk the talk!
Forget the golden rule. Don’t treat others as you wish to be treated. Treat them how they should be treated based on their behaviors and contributions. Every professional relationship is unique and deserves a unique response.
Lead with positivity. Workplaces need more of it! Think about how you think, how you explain your decisions, and how you interact with others (e.g., listening, responding, writing, giving feedback via any channel). Be kind, be helpful, smile, and laugh!
Manage outcomes, not processes. Sometimes the process will require your attention, but if you want adults to feel as if you see them as confident adults, the time to muck around in the process of how they work is when the outcomes are off. Until then, give them room!
Collaborate, don’t dictate. When in doubt, make decisions more collaboratively, not less collaboratively. They will respect you more. They will respect the decision more. They will work harder and longer to ensure the decision is successful. That’s ownership.
Make it transparent. Even when you can’t collaborate much or at all if you have to make decisions that will impact the team, explain yourself – sooner than later. Don’t let them experience ambiguity. Step up, get honest, and be transparent.
Be authentic. People want quality human connections more than just agreed-upon tasks and transactions. Being professional is the foundation, but you should be more than just professional. Be human. Share personal stories. Own and use your mistakes. Be a little more honest and real.
Choose your battles. It’s not hard to see imperfections that you feel we should address at work. Nope! What’s hard is choosing to target a small number of issues that really truly need to be addressed. You have limited time and energy so fight only the fights that really matter.
Find honest feedback. Sorry, but how others see you is quite different than how you see yourself. Perceptions vary. Empower them to give you feedback. The better you understand their take on you, the faster you can grow and improve in a way that is useful for everyone.
Use the sunshine rule. It’s the best ethics rule ever. When making decisions or thinking about how to act, just ask yourself, “If my mother, my friends, my colleagues, my supervisor, and HR all saw me do this, would I be okay with that?” If the answer is “no,” you fail the sunshine test and should likely find another course of action.
Sure – there are many honorable mentions: don’t make decisions when upset or highly emotional, it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and so on. But enough from me – how about you? From your experience, what are the rules to live by if the goal is successful leadership?
Thanks in advance for sharing!
WHAT’S UP WITH DR. D?
The first draft of Kill the Monster is complete! This is a leadership fable for young professionals, new leaders, and students who want to think more deeply about leadership, careers, and life. As I work through various edits and figure out what I want to do with this one I’ll let you know.
For many of you Thanksgiving is almost here! I’ll be spending it with family eating, well, whatever it was we were able to find at the supply chain-challenged grocery story. And you know what? I’ll be grateful for it! Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a great time to think about gratitude. It’s been a tough couple of years for many, but, when you think about it for a moment, you do have things for which you’re grateful, right? I know I do. Remembering that fact helps me keep moving forward.
Last, but not least, to the extent you’re able to do so (don’t get me started about the cost of health care!), take advantage of testing and screening to keep yourself clear of difficult health issues! It’s not fun, but it’s so important. I just found out a few little things in my lungs are of no immediate concern – three cheers!
Embrace the edit! I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words in books and essays, and one thing I’ve learned is that editing makes your work better – period! You don’t have to be a writer by profession. Editing is tremendously important and useful for professionals of all stripes. You write reports, you make presentations, you compose a zillion emails. Edit them!
Editing will almost always improve your clarity and flow, enhance your brevity, help you deliver a message with more impact, and will surely help you eliminate errors (grammar, factual, etc.).
Here’s the process you should use for any important writing. Write, go away (minutes or hours), then edit twice. This is a minimum for important writing. For lesser works, feel free to just write and immediately edit.
Hey – if you’re going to use words to convey a message, make sure you’re sending the message you think you’re sending. There are several ways to do that, but the place to start is editing!
Until next time – stay safe, go learn something, maybe help someone, or at least do something interesting!
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