I have worked for many different people and with many different types of clients in scores of disparate industries.  I have found about 4 people who I would consider to be true leaders.  This would be out of hundreds I have worked with or for.  I am truly amazed at how many of the people that are in leadership positions consider themselves to actually be leaders, though.  They believe that they are truly providing exceptional leadership to their organization.  I have seen folks who will read a book or go to a class or work with a person on leadership or management techniques and draw only their own simple correlations of success from it.  Rarely have I seen people in leadership positions ask themselves HARD personnel questions about what they should do in order to be better leaders.

I would like to chime in with a few of my personal opinions on the subject.

  • Fight for your team-  Even if you are at the VERY top of the company, find something to fight for and show your team you are doing it.  Leaders lead from the front, not from the back with a stick.  You cannot expect your team to give you 110% if you are standing behind them with a stick.  Get in front and pick up the flag and LEAD them up the hill. That means fighting for their best interests and listening to what THEY want.
  • Develop your team to take your place-  Good Managers delegate tactical responsibilities so they can focus on strategy.  GoodManager.com talks about tactical value in delegation. Good leaders and managers are constantly making their team better and sharpening their skills through delegation.  A leader should always want to have a person or people knocking on their door so that the leader has a place to push towards.  If a manager has no one trying to push forward and up to their position, then the company has no mobility and no opportunity.
  • Follow Chain of Command-  Do not control from 3 steps up the ladder.  If you need to accomplish a goal, lead your team with your direct reports.  If you circumvent the managers you have in place, then you remove their ability to lead and are showing others you have no faith in your managers or leads.  Nothing can fracture a team like having 4 bosses.
  • Continue to grow- work on your personal brand, take a class or teach a class!  The more you grow the more you will want to help others grow.  If you are not pushing for self improvement, your team may not see the need to do it either.  360 degree feedback is a must.  See what people are saying about you and make corrections if you need to.

These simple points should help get many managers on the path to becoming a better leader.  I strongly suggest looking up info in the Harvard Business Review, Jim Collins and Michael Hyatt.  There are countless resources for leadership training, but the desire must be genuine and a leader must be willing to correct their personal issues in order to find success.

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