Whether you believe in scripture or not, Exodus provides great insight into the visual presence of leadership. Exodus 13:21 says that God lead his people out of Egypt with a cloud by day and fire by night. When I read this scripture it struck me that leadership has a real presence that others can see. It takes a different shape depending on the situation.
In the fast-paced world we live in, people move in and out of our businesses very quickly. Those that show themselves as leaders demand to be promoted. Our young leaders today have confidence that they can get the job done, but may lack the wisdom of what leadership looks like. Oh wait, that can apply to mature leaders too!
I don’t know that I’m an expert in what leadership looks like but I have noticed that these 5 things inspire others to follow:
Great leaders show that they care. John Maxwell teaches servant leadership, and I have a personal philosophy that we are all in service to one another. As a leader, respect is earned and grows out of respecting others. When leaders express care and concern for the well being of their team and their guests’ great things happen.
Great leaders hold themselves and others accountable. It can be difficult to do the right thing all the time. However, leaders that stand by their own standards and live up to their own expectations, have the right to expect the same from others. It may seem OK to let this or that slide, but the minute you do that things become slippery with everyone and everything. Accountability requires discipline, confrontation, and established standards.
Leaders definitely need to give orders and share the plan. They are directive and need to make decisions even if they are wrong. However, great leaders place a great emphasis on listening. When we listen to our front line staff and to the customer, they can help our businesses be more than they could be if we try to do it all ourselves. A leader has one perspective and one voice – their own. When we put the voice of the team into play many great things can happen.
Great leaders have the ability to motivate and inspire others to do what they are doing. When you get others to help you execute the mission at hand, the job becomes more fun. This motivation helps others get creative. Duplicating your own effort is the only way to build your business. While the ultimate vision is the leader’s responsibility, how to get there can be shared with the team. Motivating that team to get the business to the next level is a characteristic that must be part of every member of your leadership team.
Great leaders look the part. They carry themselves in a way that says I’m in charge. It’s not arrogance or pride. It’s simple really. Your clothes are pressed. Your shoulders are back. You stand tall. You look engaged by looking at people in the eye. You are available. You step up when others walk away or avoid a situation. You show up.
In closing, I’d like to know what your greatest leadership challenges are. We have many respected leaders that participate in this newsletter and have access to our blog. Please use the comment section below to take the time to post your leadership challenges or victories.