Great leadership is the key to success. Great communication is the key to great leadership. Think of any great leader in modern time: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and John F. Kennedy come to mind immediately. They were powerful leaders because they could inspire people to follow them. It was their ability to articulate their vision that made them successful in achieving their goals.
In your organization you must be the leader who inspires the team to great heights. To get them to follow you, be sure they are listening to your values and your vision, and then establish the right environment for them to thrive and grow.
When I mention values, everyone nods their heads as if of course, Lynn, that’s obvious. But, when I check up on this piece, I find the last time they discussed their values – personal and professional – with their team, was often in the interview before their people were even hired. You must clearly know your personal values and your organization values to lead effectively. For example, do the answers to these questions come readily to mind?
1. What do you stand for?
2. What is most important to you?
3. What would you like your life to demonstrate?
4. What is your personal mission in life?
1. What do you stand for?
2. What are you willing to do to get new business?
3. What are you not willing to do?
4. Do you have a professional mission statement?
Quality leaders don’t change their values over time or to achieve short-term success. Consistent core organizational value systems form the strong foundation for long-term success. A simple definition is that your values are the rules by which you play the game. A well-defined value system makes all decisions easier and encourages your team to go where you lead.
It’s easy to say you have a vision for your business. It’s your lifeblood. You know it inside out. Writing it down is the next step. Sharing it widely with your team is imperative too. Even more importantly, your vision for the business must provide a unifying picture so that everyone on the team – regardless of job function – can see exactly where you’re going and the importance of their role in getting there. Therefore, the clearer the concept and the clearer (i.e., short and simple) the message is, the more likely you, and your team, can achieve the goal. Your vision needs to answer three questions. And it must answer those three questions for everyone on the team.
1. What do we do?
2. How do we do it
3. For whom do we do it?
As Jim Collins proved in his book, From Good to Great, this is not a 30 minute, one meeting exercise. This requires 100% participation. It can’t be a top-down decision. It must be iterative and inclusive.
Andrew Carnegie said: “You must capture and keep the heart of the original and supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”
When you understand what is at the core of your team members, you can serve them and allow them to reach their full potential. Value their uniqueness. Your team members are your internal customers. You must treat them at least as well as your external customers. This is the highest level of customer service.
Shape the right work environment and you’ll have loyal team members to lead. That means, you have to create a work environment that respects each person, appreciates them and rewards their effort, and encourages an openness to change. Make it a safe environment, one which encourages trying new ideas. When you unleash personal creativity, each team member has a stake in the outcome. It’s an environment that promotes growth at all levels. Combine all three elements and you have a formula for inspiring greatness and leading to breakthrough success. Do it now!