My first leadership position was an adjustment to say the least. I went from being an individual contributor to leading a team, and to be successful in one dynamic is way different than being successful in the other.
Being a great leader is about being honest. It is about being able to communicate clearly what expectations are and giving suggestions on how to get there. It was hard for me to be honest with some team members because I didn’t want to give them difficult news. For example, one was under performing significantly enough where it was time to let him go.
I could have given him a warning, but I find that giving a warning just sparks the person to apply for new jobs. At least that is what I would do in that situation.
The reality is not every person is right for every job. Even if you feel like you can personally take anything on, the results speak for themselves.
Being a leader meant looking at myself more critically. It meant doing the internal work to get myself available for others, to help serve them unselfishly and graciously.
I looked at leaders that were successful in my past, and tried to pick up what they were serving.
I also found 10 qualities that confident leaders tell themselves, which helps both them and their employees to build them up and get them to perform the best they can be.
- They are very aware of who they are. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and don’t get jealous of high performers, but let them thrive by letting them maneuver their own processes. Basically they hire the right people, and get out of the way.
- They challenge themselves. This means that they take on ambitious tasks. They learn how to get from point A to point B by failing gracefully and using those failures to retry a different way. Being quick and nimble is legit here.
- They don’t let fear take them over. Fear is all emotion driven rather than fact driven. Feelings are not facts. Being able to distinguish what is real and what is important now will help drive better results than sulking.
- They don’t seek outside validation. They don’t need others to tell them they are great. They just know they are great already. Their confidence lights up a room and naturally gets others motivated to win.
- They take charge of their positivism and when there is a challenge at hand, they look for a long term answer rather than a quick fix.
- They have faith in themselves. They know that anything can be accomplished with space and time, along with a solid plan.
- They surround themselves with people that believe in them. Personally and corporate wise, they surround themselves with positive go-getters and people they want to be like or emulate themselves.
- They are comfortable with who they are and they replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
What qualities do you see in great leadership?
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It’s definitely an eye opener being promoted into a management position for the first time. I agree dealing with underperformance with someone you worked as a peer with can be extraordinarily difficult. You also have to accept that not everyone is going to like you. No good manager is liked by everyone unfortunately you just have to try your best to be as fair and consistent as possible!
So true, Jonathan! The goal is not to be liked but to be effective. Thank you for your thoughts.
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