Your organization will perform to the level of leadership you provide.
It is no secret that a critical factor in the success of an organization is the quality of its leaders. Not just leaders at the top, but leaders throughout the organization. From the executive team to department managers to frontline supervisors, leadership isn’t simply a difference maker; it is the difference maker.
Talent is important, but it cannot replace leadership. Without effective leadership in an organization, talented people get frustrated and fail to produce results equal to their potential. There is a long line of organizations with talented people who underperform because of a less-than-effective work environment. Great leaders create a culture that engages hearts and minds and brings out the best in everyone. Leadership is the catalyst that unleashes and focuses the talent of people.
Real leadership is about the person, not the position. You aren’t a leader simply because you have a position and a title. You are a leader because you think and act like a leader. Your organization can put you in a position of authority, but only you can put yourself in a position of leadership.
Improving your capacity to lead is a demanding inner journey. It requires you to cultivate the mindset and build the skill set that are essential for responding to the demands of actually leading people and teams. Do not wait for your organization to offer professional development. It is your responsibility to grow and get better as a leader. The journey is very challenging, and you can’t dabble.
The process of building leadership skill is slow, small, and daily. It doesn’t happen quickly, it doesn’t happen in big leaps, and it demands daily focus and effort. It is a relentless commitment to being better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today.
The journey begins with your mindset. If you don’t think like a leader, you will not consistently do what a leader needs to do. Rather than a “have to” mindset, effective leaders have a “get to” mindset. They see leadership not as a burden of tedious things they “have” to do, but as an opportunity with high-impact things they “get” to do.
Here, then, is a great way to start your day with a leadership mindset. Before you go into the office or onto the jobsite or log onto the first Zoom call of the day, say this to yourself:
“Today I get to…”
- Lead with purpose.
- Serve people.
- Solve problems.
- Bring energy.
This is how a leader thinks and this is what a leader does. The best leaders are purpose-driven and principle-centered. They seek to serve and support. They are problem-solvers. They are a consistent source of positive, productive energy for the people and teams they lead.
Unfortunately, there are some leaders who do not think and operate this way. They lack a sense of higher purpose, get caught up in organizational politics, and are motivated by personal agendas. They often cause more problems than they solve. They are a source of negative energy. This could legitimately be called anti-leadership.
Great leaders cultivate the “get to” mindset. They don’t flinch in the face of problems and challenges. They understand that leadership is about people and performance. It is the powerful combination of building trust and achieving results, and they do not compromise one for the other.
Leadership matters. Often the difference between a great organization and an average one is the quality of its leaders. Nothing can stop the organization that harnesses the power of leadership. Nothing can help the organization that doesn’t.