Just because you don’t manage staff, doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader… Think about the people that you have worked with who don’t manage people – for one reason or another they manage to set direction, align people and provide motivation. When you worked with them, you just ‘felt’ like they had something to offer.
The problem is that being a leader sometimes feels like you need to be superhuman. We all have expectations of what a ‘good leader’ looks like, and are often disappointed. Have our leaders failed? Did we expect too much? Did we expect something different?
I think you would agree, the superhuman leader would look like;
Someone who is:
- Decent, compassionate, just AND tough, assertive and tactical
- Self confident, decisive, fearless AND humble, doubting self and open to others
- Adaptive, flexible, agile AND authentic, stable, predictable
Someone who will:
- Unify, consolidate AND conform – but just enough!
- Consult, engage, coach AND educate, instruct, motivate
Who else is sitting there reading this and thinking “wow, is this really one person? Are they nuts?” How can this be?
So, how do I become a leader if I am not superhuman?
Here are the core principles that hold true for me for leadership;
- Provide clarity (be clear in your direction giving and in who has the authority and accountability)
- Engage staff (by helping them make progress, even if it’s incremental)
- Build trust (be open and transparent in communication and; in action do what you say you will)
- Show compassion (keep it real – we are human after all!)
- Provide stability (be consistent in all that you say and do)
- Create hope (show people how their role contributes to the wider organisation and how this makes a difference)
If your leader embraced these things, do you think it would make an impact?