Are you a leader people want? This question is not just a thought-provoking statement; it serves as a reminder of the importance of asking questions daily and often, just like we did as curious children seeking to learn and understand the world around us. Unfortunately, as we grow into adulthood and take on leadership roles, we often forget the power of questioning and understanding others.
Stephen Covey, the influential author and speaker, coined the phrase, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” In the hustle and bustle of our fast-paced lives, especially in the work environment, we often sacrifice meaningful connections with others in pursuit of staying on top of things. But what are we sacrificing at the cost of this rhythm? What impact does it have on our relationships, both at work and at home?
As a coach and mentor, I have often posed the question, “What kind of leader are you? What kind of leader do you aspire to be?” The realm of leadership literature is vast, with countless books and resources on the subject. From philosophical perspectives to various leadership styles, the abundance of information can be overwhelming. However, at the core of it all lies a fundamental question, “Are you a leader people want?”
People may be inclined to tell us what we want to hear, whether out of fear, politeness, or reluctance to be candid. But deep down, most individuals desire to work under a leader who embodies humility, kindness, trustworthiness, authenticity, empathy, and teamwork. A leader who is willing to roll up their sleeves and work alongside their team, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of those they lead.
Creating an environment where team members feel safe to express their opinions, share their concerns, and provide feedback is crucial. Regularly asking questions about what is working and what needs improvement fosters a culture of open communication and continuous improvement. Acknowledging mistakes and seeking input on finding better solutions is a sign of strength and value in those we work with.
Inspire, Motivate and Elevate
Inspiring, motivating, and elevating others are essential traits of a leader people admire and respect. Leaders must encourage their team, even on the darkest days, by highlighting achievements, dedication, and hard work. Lifting others up brings hope and fosters a sense of empowerment within the team.
Additionally, offering opportunities for professional development and growth shows that you believe in the potential of your team members. As a leader, be authentic in your interactions, letting your true self shine through. Kindness, trustworthiness, empathy, and hope are qualities that resonate with others and create a positive and productive work environment.
Ultimately, the foundation of leadership lies in embracing and standing firm on your values. Your actions and decisions should align with your core principles, demonstrating integrity and setting an example for others to follow.
To be the leader people want, consider the following steps:
- Ask questions to genuinely understand what your team wants and needs.
- Foster an environment of clear and consistent communication.
- Provide opportunities for continuous professional development to support growth.
- Be authentic in all your interactions.
- Demonstrate kindness, trustworthiness, empathy, and the ability to inspire hope.
- Build your leadership on a solid foundation of values.
Remember, leadership is not just about directing others; it’s about understanding, supporting, and empowering those around you. By embracing these qualities and incorporating them into your leadership style, you can become the leader that people genuinely want to follow and work alongside. So, ask yourself again: Are you a leader people want? The answer lies in your actions and the positive impact you create on the lives of those you lead.
If you are a follower of mine, you already know my Two Rule Philosophy is utilized in the school setting. However, it can be applied to leadership within this post. Two Rules are simple: Everyone will feel good about being here, and everyone will feel safe. Questions are asked to help maintain these rules about choice, problem-solving, and more. It is simple to start with Two Rules to make a difference in all we do. Let me know if you want to know more.