In the previous articles I discussed lessons I have learned about leadership. This article is part three of a six part series.
Most leaders know what to do. Great leaders know how to do it the right way to ensure the strategy is executed properly. How a leader goes about the business is a differentiator and a competitive advantage for the leader. It requires high emotional intelligence—self-awareness, social awareness and strong communication skills. It requires a people-focused approach that is centered on how to inspire your team to exceed expectations.
A leader must be her authentic self. While it is important to learn from great leaders, you cannot be them. You can only be yourself. Your team wants to get to know the real you. If you want to be authentic, you must be willing to share your personal experiences and reveal your genuine identity as a person. It is okay to show your people that you are imperfect. That is what will make you real to them.
You must ask questions; questions that show you are interested and engaged. Then your job is to listen carefully. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank participant, recognizes the importance of listening. In fact before every meeting, he writes the word LISTEN at the top of his notes page. Great leaders are curious. They want to listen, learn and understand. They want to improve as leaders.
Developing your leadership attributes and core competencies are critical to your success. You need to be strong at setting direction and strategy, mobilizing and inspiring your team, and demonstrating personal character. Focus on your strengths—what you are really good at—and neutralize your developmental areas.
As an executive I followed the principles of Go, Look, See and Do. Go means that you must get out from behind your desk. Look and focus your eyes on the business and the people and what needs to be accomplished versus what is actually happening. Then you must See or become aware of what is happening by using your eyes. Becoming aware is key—it’s a wakening of the senses so you know what needs to be done. Finally you must do something. You must act.