There have been a ton of books, articles and blog posts focused on leadership over the years. The purpose of this article is to help you put the word “leadership” into action both for yourself and for your team. To help you create action, I decided to create a new acronym for the word “leadership.”
Legacy: To truly be considered an exceptional leader, you have to create a legacy where your team continues to thrive and grow long after you’re gone.
Enthusiasm: I have never met a great leader who wasn’t enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm and energy make all the difference in the world and help your team get through the hard times.
Attitude: Zig Ziglar, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” For me, that quote is never truer than when leading others.
Direction: People won’t follow you unless they believe that you’ve got a clear vision of where to go. Contrary to popular belief, people want to be given direction — they just don’t want to be told how to do it and then be micromanaged to do it your way!
Empathy: Your team wants you to understand and acknowledge their feelings. They want you to build rapport with them individually and collectively as a team. Know your team members as individuals. Ask for their input — and listen to what they have to say. Most people thrive in a culture of like-minded individuals working together for a common goal.
Respect: Respect is all about team members feeling valued/appreciated. That’s why it’s important to let them know what you admire about them and why you enjoy having them on your team. Look for opportunities to find them doing something right! Respect also involves giving team members the autonomy they need and the empowerment to act. Reward people for taking chances.
Success: Celebrate successes along the way. Focus on positive activities versus just sales numbers. For example, if a salesperson increased their number of appointments or outbound calls in the past week, make sure you celebrate those activities as a success — even if they didn’t close any business. You know if they keep that level of activity up, it’s only a matter of time until sales increase.
Help: Coach, mentor and/or train your team members on a regular basis. Roll up your sleeves and demonstrate the behavior you want them to exhibit. Help them reach their full potential. I have one question for you: How much easier would your life be if the worst member of your team was a B+ performer? The good news is you can control that! By hiring people better than those who have left and creating an environment that rewards risk-taking and shared goals, the team has a tendency to self-manage, and mediocre players do not last.
Inspire: Inspire people to be their best. Influence them, encourage them and recognize them. Create an environment/culture that motivates them. Let them know you believe in them. Share your own struggles, and, more importantly, tell them how you overcame them.
Praise: Public recognition in front of one’s peers is a tremendous motivator. Believe it or not, it’s often a better motivator than a raise, a promotion or an incentive trip. If each member is praised for their individual efforts, the team will have a tendency to perform better. Winning is contagious, and it starts with one person winning, then two and so on!
Ralph Nader is with saying, “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” I couldn’t agree more. I hope that this article helps you become a better leader while building your team of future leaders.