Leaders are stewards. They are responsible for a group of people who possess talent and are given the opportunity to demonstrate that talent in the pursuit of a goal and purpose. The critical task of a leader is to help develop and nurture the potential of those they lead in order to help them maximum their potential and accomplish the goals of the team, organization, business, or family unit.
In order to do that successfully, here are 5 things that a leader should do every day in pursuit of this stewardship mission:
- Encourage Others – In their incredible book The Leadership Challenge, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner say that “encouraging the heart” is one of the hardest practices for a lot of leaders. Yet, it is one of the easiest things leaders can do every day to inspire others to maximize their potential and pursue the goals and core values of the organization. When you encourage others, it acknowledges a job well done and raises the level of performance of the other person for future moments. A connection is made between you and the other person, and it inspires them to go farther in their pursuit of excellence.
- Challenge Your People – In my experience of working with high potentials and high performers, they respond well to challenges. A leader must understand the capabilities of the people he or she is leading and present opportunities that will challenge them to fully use and stretch their potential. The individual, their team, and the organization benefit from this. The core opportunity is to challenge others to be better and grow every day.
- Hold Them Accountable – Many leaders fail to hold people accountable for their actions and doing what they said they were going to do. Leaders must do this in a proactive way that builds a culture of accountability where everyone commits, everyone acts, and everyone impacts in a positive way. Also, leaders must hold people accountable not only to their tasks but also to their talent. Warren Bennis says that leaders help develop others’ “talent to be” which speaks to realizing and maximizing their potential. Realizing potential and achieving goals happens when there is a circle of accountability that surrounds and supports another individual.
- Care About Them – Leaders must care about their people which involves demonstrating genuine concern for who they are and the value they bring. Words like caring, compassion, and love are not often used in a business setting and are often thrown out as soft; yet, caring about your people is a strong force and demonstrates the commitment you have toward another’s success. Leaders who care want the best for their people and receive the most from them.
- Communicate The Vision – In his book The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey cites research that was done by Harris Interactive that indicated “only 37 percent said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why and only one in five said they had a clear ‘line of sight’ between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals.” Great leaders, however, connect vision and values to tasks and time. If someone you lead truly understands how what they do every day connects to the mission and vision of the organization, they will truly invest their time in making a positive difference and will fully demonstrate and represent the core values of the organization.
Leaders must think beyond their job description duties and seek out opportunities that will make an exponential difference in the way work is done and the way lives are impacted through the process. These five things are pivot points that will take your leadership culture to the next level. Make time to put them into practice today!
Question: As a leader, what are some other things that you have found to be helpful in leading others? You can leave a comment by clicking here.