My Top Ten Leadership Lessons: Part #10

Lesson #1: If you feel it is necessary to continually remind people you are the leader, there is a real possibility you are not.

Lesson #2: Be Last.

Lesson #3: Praise Publicly. Correct Privately. Encourage Consistently.

Lesson #4: Listen and allow input. Never let yours be the only voice you hear.

Lesson #5: Leaders move forward and grow by looking back and learning. Leaders who are successful consistently evaluate past decisions to ensure better future decisions.

Lesson #6: Followership is a prerequisite to leadership. If you have a difficult time following you will have an even more difficult time leading.

Lesson #7: Be patient. There are times when no action is the best action.

Lesson #8: It is okay to not be the smartest person in the room.

Lesson #9: Leaders are well prepared and think of needs in advance.

Lesson #10: Lead by example. 

Lead by example. It is likely the most important leadership principle. Leadership expert John Maxwell said it this way, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Why is this principle so important? People will follow someone whom they believe is worthy of being followed. The leader of an organization must set the standard and be a model for others. If he/she wants the people to be compassionate, compassion must be genuinely demonstrated by the leader. If he/she wants the people to be above reproach and steer clear of the gray areas of life, leaders will do the same before their people. It impossible to ask someone to do something you cannot, or are not willing to do yourself. To do so is hypocritical and destroys organizational cohesion and separates the leader from the organization.

Leadership means being in front. Think back to the movies that portrayed reenactments of major battles from the Civil War. As the massive opposing armies stood facing one another, there was a common element – a general leading the charge. This motivated the soldiers in the ranks. They knew their leader was willing to endure what they were being asked to endure. There was a confidence their leader was willing to risk being wounded or even killed, the same thing being asked of them. John Maxwell wrote, “”Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.”

If a leader wants his/her people to run into the storm for the good of the organization, they had better be close to the front so others will follow. The behaviors that leaders want the organization to adopt must first reside within the leader. It doesn’t mean a leader must be the best at everything. It does mean he/she must be willing to move first and take the same risks as everyone else. This cannot be done from the safety of the bunker.

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