Many of the principles of good leadership are common sense – or should be. Treat people fairly, don’t make assumptions, clarify roles and expectations, communicate openly, protect and support your team. Makes total sense, right?
Why then do we still need to talk about it?
For one, there is hardly a day going by without people complaining about bad leadership. Just visit your office’s coffee corner to check on that.
What then? Mystery knowledge from experts? But looking beyond their individual words, the experts are talking about those same principles. Dang! Common sense again!
There IS more to it, and I can tell you what it is.
It’s not enough to just know about it. It’s about applying it even when things get heated – and things get heated very quickly when people come together for work. There are conflicts of interest between departments, different opinions within a team, and different perspectives on priorities among managers.
Being a leader, you may be involved in the discussion or preside over the table, watching people argue as if in a tennis match. Oh, if only you were King Solomon, wise and just and impartial at all times!
Chances are, you will be hard pushed to remain calm.
Depending on the circumstance of your particular day, your favorite team member just pushed your buttons – again. You have about 70 mails to answer, your boss is waiting for a presentation, and you’ve just listened to 20 minutes of fruitless arguments with a growing impatience, because you had sworn to yourself to let the team decide more!
As a leader, you will need to find a way to remain true to yourself, aware of your goals and those of your organization, consider the relationship between parties involved, the effect your actions will have, and hopefully make an effort to bring your choices across in a way that is palatable for most of the people affected.
You will have to live with the fact that you will not be liked by everyone, or even acknowledged for the effort you are making as a leader. You will have to find your own measures of success, so that you don’t burn out. And you will have to find your inner compass that will help you make the tough calls. I suggest you also find your personal support system so that you don’t have to go the journey alone.
In essence, leadership is one of the major personal development programs you can book in this life. If you want to do it well, you are constantly learning. I wish this was common sense.
If you want to be a better leader, or start on your leadership journey, my SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND LEAD Leadership Intensive 1:1 program might be just right for you. Within 8 weeks, you will not only find your personal leadership style, but gain the confidence to lead for the rest of your life. Find the full details here.