Why do I ask my husband to guest post on the blog all the time?! In so many ways I look up to him. He has helped me grow into a better person and together we have changed our hearts in what we want to prioritize and live for. He continuously gives me great perspective, inspires me, and is one of the most rational people I know. Maybe all of his wisdom comes from his one more year of earth than me 😉
Drew recently attended a leadership conference through work, and he came back with a lot of amazing nuggets of information that he shared with me. He is the type of husband that will send me the Management Tip of the Day from the Harvard Business Review about setting goals with your spouse. We still (and forever) will meet every single month to discuss our financial goals. Leadership is Drew’s type of topic.
I asked if he would write a blog post…so that we could share it all with you too 🙂 Self-development is one of my favorite topics, and one that I think is important to address.
Thanks for agreeing Mr. Kiefer. Here is his post:
What comes to mind when you think of the word “leadership”?
Direction? Inspiration? Encouragement? Guidance?
All of the aforementioned words, along with many others, can be used to describe “leadership”. When we stop to think about it, all of us have the opportunity to lead on a daily basis. Leadership is not reserved for CEOs, political figures, team captains, and parents. Everyone is a leader in some shape or form! You know the saying, “There are natural born leaders”… Well, I don’t buy into this notion. While some people are blessed with stronger leadership capabilities than others, just like any other skill or trait, we ALL have the ability to enhance our leadership style.
Who cares? Why should leadership be important to us? The reality is that each of us constantly makes the decision to be influenced by someone or something, generally because it aligns with a common belief or purpose of ours. This is a result of leadership…The ability to influence for a common purpose. When executed well, leadership inspires passion, builds trust, and generates success. Since we all play a large role in the game of leadership (whether you like it or not), I have outlined some tips to enrich your approach.
- Accountability. People respect a leader who holds him/herself accountable for the outcome of a situation. These people simply do what they say they’re going to do, and there’s no blame or excuses when things don’t go as planned. Good leaders take responsibilities for their actions because they value integrity. Leading by example inspires followership.
- You can’t be everything to everyone. This is a phrase I adopted from a recent leadership workshop I attended that resonated with me. It’s nearly impossible to spend a lot of time with everyone on your team. And if you somehow manage to do so, what expense is jeopardized? Your family? Your health? As with many things in life, balance is a necessity for long-term success.
- Self-awareness. While coaching others and providing constructive feedback are important components of successful leadership, self-awareness is absolutely critical for your evolution as a leader. If you don’t care enough to further develop yourself, why would others want to follow you? It is essential for leaders to understand how they can improve. For example, a world-renown business leader, Harry Jansen Kraemer Jr, asks himself the following questions as he reflects upon each day: “What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do? If what I did was different than what I planned, what were the reasons? What went well, and what did not? How did I treat people? Am I proud of the way I lived this day? If I had the day to live over again, what would I do differently? What did I learn today that will have an impact on how I live the next day and going forward?”
- Do the right thing instead of having to be right. True leaders aren’t concerned with having to always be right or having the best idea, rather they are driven to do the right thing. Without this level of humility, leaders can be blinded by their own self-righteousness. In sum, The Team > You.
- Ask the right questions; don’t obsess over having the right answers. Great leaders don’t have the answer to everything. One reason many leaders become great is because of the questions they ask that get others and themselves to think most appropriately about a situation, process, problem, etc. Thoughtful questions stimulate cognitive thinking, thus resulting in heightened outcomes.
- Effective communication. Effective communication provides relevant information, signifies the direction, and sets the tone. However, the first step is to be a good listener. Without applying active listening, an individual shields oneself to beneficial ideas and perspectives. When done well, listening allows a leader to understand viewpoints and motivations of others, which leads to enhanced emotional intelligence. Knowing what drives others allows you to determine how to best communicate with them. Additionally, people are motivated when they understand how their involvement impacts the bigger picture. Connecting the dots for those you are leading is critical to securing buy-in. Without appreciating the importance of their involvement, individuals are not inspired to action. Clear and frequent communication about overall direction and the relevance of each person’s part is a key factor in ensuring the followership you desire.
While many of my points seem like common sense, reality tells us these behaviors they are not the norm. Leadership is not easy; it requires focused and continuous effort for success. Individuals who demonstrate accountability, balance, self-awareness, humility, thoughtful questions, and effective communication are the leaders we are inspired to follow. I wish you the best in applying these behaviors to your leadership repertoire.
All of those points resounded with me and I can easily identify places where I can improve my leadership skills. I hope you found some inspiration in there too!
I hope you everyone has an awesome Tuesday! -Ames (+Drew) 🙂