Leadership isn’t knowing all the answers. It’s about allowing people enough safety and guardrails to come up with their own answers and solutions. Then they have ownership, leaving you them to lead them to better.
I have learned from each employee I’ve had about my business, my clients, myself, and how to up my game for THEM, not me. They have taught me about everyday mundane things to the sophisticated and mind-blowing. Being a leader is allowing them the space to share their thoughts and not be afraid of who they are or what they have to say is what allows them to bring the magic in the everyday. It also gives me something feed off of it.
1. Lead with the broad-strokes and allow others to fill in the details
People rally behind leaders because they want direction, someone that says with confidence, “We’re going this way!” but they also want to contribute and be part of the action. A great way to do this is to provide a foundation for your team that supports them in their everyday. By laying down the groundwork in terms of process or an outline for a project, they will know what is expected of them and be able to provide their own thoughts and details, and in turn, have ownership.
2. Be Empathetic
Leaders always want to solve problems, it’s what we’re born to do. But to be a real leader we need to push aside the need to fix everything to just listen and feel something. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes as often as possible. When you understand where another person is coming from, you can offer a real solution. This could be true for an assistant that works for you or a client you’re trying to land. What is it they ultimately want and need? What’s driving them and their decision making? Once you understand them inherently, you can better provide for them.
3. Have values and stick to them
If you don’t know your values, you will hurt people and yourself continually and create a culture of resentment. If you do know your values, stick to them and hold yourself accountable every. single. time. You do not get an exception because you’re the boss.
4. Share all the time
The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in-between. The people that work for you like understanding where they are in relationship to the work. When things are under cloak and dagger, they assume. And assumptions are rarely positive or correct. Sharing as much as possible with the team allows a transparency culture throughout the business.
5. Be Proactive
Leaders are like fortune tellers: they have a tendency to be able to see around corners. And that’s because they’re thinking a few (or many!) steps ahead and being proactive in identifying and preventing potential roadblocks and pitfalls and coming up with contingency plans along the way.