There are many books, trainings, and Ted Talks about Leadership how-to’s, must-do’s, and never-do-that-ever’s, but the simple truth is that effective leadership is an inside job. Whether leading small teams or thousands, leadership always begins with YOU – the leader. You are the CEO of your own life, whether running a business, managing employees, or creating your own individual success.
Three fundamentals to keep in mind :
1. Get clear on where you are going – and why. Otherwise known as VISION, this key ingredient is critical to leadership success. As leader of your business and your life you must have a vision for where you’re going. Clarity starts with reflection. Ask yourself, “Why am I here?” “Why does my business exist?” ”Where are you going?” “Where do I want to be in 5 years, 3 years, next year?” A leader knows where she is going and then figures out how to get there. A clear vision is a starting point to get things moving. Begin with the end in mind and work backwards to get there. That is a much different journey than reacting to the daily pop-ups or distractions and letting those dictate your path.
2. Communicate. Once set on the destination, successful leaders don’t keep it a secret. Leadership is about communication: two-way communication. Effective leaders share their vision with their team and trusted advisors. The captain of a ship must be clear with the crew about where they are going. Without declaring “We are going to that island over there!” the employees may be rowing with all their might but steering the boat in circles. Communicating the clear direction for the team is essential for working together toward a common goal. Inviting feedback about how to get there is crucial to effective leadership too. The best leaders do the inside-work to put their egos aside and encourage insights and new perspectives from their employees.
3. Be curious. Great leaders are life-long learners seeking out opportunities for continuous improvement and reflecting on why things are – or are not – working. It’s important for the ship captain to be clear on the island for landing but equally crucial to be able to course-correct in the face of an unforeseen storm. Within your company, be curious about what is going on in various departments and also with individual team members. What is the reason for unexpected changes in sales numbers or the undesirable behavior of a co-worker? Inquiry with curiosity is the first step to potential course-correction and is essential to effectively lead your team.
I encourage you to do the inner-work. Get clear about where you are going and why, communicate and invite feedback, and stay curious to effectively lead your team, your business and your life.
Kim Ellet is a certified professional coach and owner of The Growth Coach of Metro Atlanta. She finds joy in helping successful leaders committed to continuous improvement, be more of who they are, dream bigger dreams, and accomplish more than they realized was possible. www.TheGrowthCoachATL.com