In the world of leadership there are thousands of ways to “lead”. There are entire sections on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in your local library entirely dedicated to the art of leadership. The reason why is simple. Quite frankly there is an abundance of really terrible leadership in this world and people turn to books hoping for an easy fix. We need a change.
We need better. And I want it to be you!
Throughout my time in athletics, my professional career and now fatherhood I’ve been lucky enough to learn from and be surrounded by some truly amazing and dynamic leaders.
Good for me, lucky for you. I’ve noticed 5 things that bad leaders need to know (and fix ASAP!!) to build momentum, inspire dynamic results and create lasting success.
ONE: Good Leaders Don’t Hate the Problem
You’ve heard the saying, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
Good leaders understand to not hate the problem. Whether its business or relationships, good leaders know that their power in leadership comes from their ability to solve problems.
That’s where their value is earned.
Anyone can lead when times are good and the seas are fair. Good leadership is recognized not when everything is rosy, but how people react in times of stress.
Good leaders don’t avoid or wish that the problem wouldn’t happen; they know that some sort of problem will always happen.
Instead of cussing at the problem, embrace the problem. Understand that with each problem is an opportunity to thoroughly demonstrate value to your family, business or community.
TWO: Good Leaders Feel You
And not in that Bill Clinton weird way.
Good leaders have high levels of empathy.
That doesn’t mean they’re soft or pushovers…far from it.
It means that they can see other people’s points of view with respect, courtesy and clarity. Trust me… the world will never have too many people with empathy.
And besides this being something your wife wants you to improve on (mine included), leaders with high levels of empathy are amazing at reading people, managing others and persuasion.
Ever been in a situation where you really feel like someone understands you? How much more likely were you to follow them? I’m guessing you’d run through a brick wall for them.
THREE: Eat the Frog
Mark Twain once said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
What he means is that if you have something that you’re really dreading to do, do it right away in the morning.
Reason being if you don’t do it right away you’re going to taste that frog all day, and then you’ll still have to eat it.
Here’s how good leaders use this bit of advice. Good leaders have the courage to address the issue.
It’s not because they want to have conflict or take joy in the process. It’s certainly not easy but good leaders do not let situations just fester. They address the issue or conflict swiftly and with an eye for resolution.
I know everyone can relate. Be honest, you’ve put off conversations and ducked out of issues. You may have saved yourself from that immediate discomfort, but I bet it felt like you ate gas station sushi the rest of the day.
Do yourself a favor next time you have to address an issue. Do it quickly, do it immediately, don’t hesitate and don’t procrastinate.
FOUR: Be Honest and Candid
I’ve always believed that if you want people to be honest and candid with you, you have to be honest and candid with them.
Good leaders are excellent communicators but not always in the ways we associate with great communicators.
Good leaders don’t have to be Ronald Reagan or Kurt Russell in Miracle.
The ability to give the inspiring speech at the drop of a hat is what Hollywood wants us to believe is the only way to be a great communicator. Not true.
In fact many great leaders that I’ve had experience with shy away from such circumstances.
Excellent communicators are effective communicators, simple as that. They get across exactly what they need without ambiguity.
There is nothing more maddening than being around someone who cannot effectively articulate their message. Don’t be that guy. Know what you want to say and deliver it with honesty and conviction.
FIVE: You Be You
Just be yourself.
I see so many up and comers trying to be the next Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street. That’s not you, and that will not work for you.
If there’s one thing that people can sniff out quicker than a blood hound, it’s when people are inauthentic. Guys, you know what I’m talking about. It’s easier to spot than a nuclear explosion.
So instead of acting like a leader you once saw, why not just be yourself. You be you. Don’t be anyone else.
When you be you, you project a sense of confidence that cannot be replicated or faked. Good leaders recognize this. They know that they don’t need to put on airs or act like anyone else.
Good leaders understand that their ability to lead is found in a deep and trusting connection. The only way to connect is by being oneself.
You don’t need any more leadership training and you don’t need any more books. As I said before the world needs better leaders. Start by improving your own skills today.
Mark Evans is the founder of Scotch & Ink, a website dedicated to imparting traditional advice for today’s man. He’s a husband, father, Ironman competitor and leader. His primary focus is leadership, persuasion and all things sales.