Leaders who are most successful have the openness to allow empowerment. Leaders who “take care of” their people will build a trust earned of the heart and not just the mind. Leaders who give of themselves first, invite the cooperation of others to work alongside “with” not “for” a common goal. What is this common goal; to make leadership about others and not yourself.

It is tough to do this in a society that places so much emphasis and importance on the “me first.” It goes against every fiber of our bodies to “let go” and begin to think of a different way to lead. At some point a leader must ask themselves, do I have the respect of others? Leaders who are for their people do not have to ask this. If you have to ask, then you probably do not. It is straightforward to tell because you are the one who determines the respect.

After pondering my thoughts above, I believe there are three ways to determine where you are with your leadership with others and where others are with your leadership. Yes, it goes both ways.


Do what you say, say what you do…

You are the example, the poster-face of your organization. You must understand the responsibility that comes with being the leader. Everything, everything you do provides some level of engagement that others will feed off of, either good or bad. This is the responsibility you have as a leader. Great leaders understand this. Great leaders know that they are putting their lives in with the lives of others for the greater wellbeing of the organization, not just themselves.

Get the shovel and help dig the ditch…

I have always been a fan of the line, “Do not ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” What I do not like to hear or see in leadership is the idea of, “I have paid my dues, I don’t have to do that anymore.” Yes, dues are paid; everyone understands that, and some can even respect that. But what is not ok, is for you to flaunt yourself and not be willing to do any of the work. If you want your people to be inspired, do not only get in the ditch but get a shovel and dig. People want to see leadership in the ditch with them. To understand and feel as they do; not every blue moon, but on a consistent basis. Having a clean shovel is not a good sign of leadership.

Responsibility is yours; credit is theirs…

Leadership must own its actions and decisions. It is so easy to place blame on others; we see it all the time. This is where that ego of many gets in the way. I have witnessed many times where a leader will “paint themselves in a corner” only to let someone else take the fall; the idea of being “called on the carpet” per se. But, to look at the opposite… when something great happens, the leader wants to be front and center, forgetting the ones behind. I am sorry to say this, but once again, it is about the people, not you. Be willing to acknowledge and reward the opportunities that can make a difference for the people. Let the light shine on them. Better yet, just be the shadow. Give credit where it is due, to the ones, you work “with.”

Great leaders should understand the impact they have. As the leader, you are being watched and more than likely, being talked about. Is it good or bad? It is so important that you, the leader, model what you want in your team, because what you model will be modeled.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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