When it comes to leadership, there are two basic flavors: excellent and terrible. There are a lot of variations in-between those two extremes, but who wants to be in the messy middle and be “known” as a mediocre leader?
Quick, who best mediocre leader you know? See what I mean? The reality is no one starts out with the goal of being mediocre, but that’s where most people end up. And make no mistake, just as we’re all followers, we’re also all leaders at some level; even if the only person we lead is ourselves.
So what can you do to make sure that you, as a leader, are more than just a warm body filling a gap? How can you rise above the 68% of leaders in the messy middle? After all, by definition that’s where most are.
What about the exceptions? Every time I take our EPPM students through a Best and Worst leaders exercise, one thing becomes clear very, very quickly: the leaders who had the greatest positive impact on students were first and foremost great people. In nearly every case, it was the great person that opened the heart of the student, who then permitted that person to do the work of a great leader in their life.
Quick, who is the greatest leader that has positively impacted you? My guess is that they were first a great person in your life. I know that’s been the case with the great leaders in my life and I’ve been blessed with many over the years, including my dad. In addition to the excellence I saw those leaders add to our cause and organization, they also demonstrated a personal excellence which was attractive and that made me want to imitate them.
So how can you maximize your leadership excellence for positive, meaningful impact in the lives of the people and organizations you lead? The short answer: work just as hard on yourself as you do your job. Great leadership requires both being and doing. The following 10 leadership best practices and principles can help you do just that:
- Leadership requires you to work as hard on yourself as you do your job.
- Leadership is nature and nurture- the exact combination can be debated, but without nurture it goes nowhere OR is likely to go poorly.
- Leadership is Relationship- there must be more than just you if you are to lead and influence.
- Leadership is sharing your Vision with others and having them adopt it as their own.
- Leadership is leveraging yourself through people and resources for maximum positive effect while seeking the greater good.
- Leadership style and role vary.
- Leadership must be focused- you can’t be everywhere with everybody for everything.
- Leadership must be selective- focus on who and what will give the greatest return, make the greatest impact and give the greatest reward.
- Positive servant Leadership is getting work done through others in a God honoring way.
- Positive servant Leadership ultimately results in benefit both for the leader and those being led.
Some fundamentals never change. You have to first lead yourself well in order to do the same for others. You want to take your leadership to the next level of excellence? Then set your mind to “be more” so you can “do more.” Who do you need to become more of in order to lead yourself and others well? What do you have to do next to have the leadership impact you desire?
If you’ve found some things that have really helped you move the needle in this area then please leave a comment and share the wealth.