As someone who studies leadership and looks for tangible examples of it in action, I have certainly had plenty to digest over the past several months leading up to our Presidential election. The following are what rise to the top of my list to share with you today. It is important to mention that this is from an analysis of the election overall.
Love more and attack less.
There are no shortages of critics who look to identify our mistakes, to amplify their impact and even exaggerate the circumstances. Just as the game of telephone illustrates the evolution of stories passed on from one to another, our critics’ messages tend to evolve over time and with each new messenger introduced to the storyline. As leaders, we must block out the noise of our critics and focus on the facts. When we succeed, we must celebrate that success. When we make mistakes, we must admit our shortcomings, learn from them, and dust ourselves off as we move forward. Imagine a world where we loved more than we critiqued one another, a world where we intentionally looked for the good in others and stayed focused on the golden rule.
Period. End of lesson.
Prioritize the what with the how.
Far too many people focus on what they want to accomplish and spend little time identifying and committing to how they will accomplish it. As time passes, people grow frustrated that they have not achieved their goals, often blame others for holding them back, and identify the obstacles in their way. Leaders recognize the importance of balancing what they want to accomplish with how they plan to make it happen. We are effective in life when we couple action plans with our goals, when we are just as clear about how we are going to succeed as we are about how we have defined success.
Unite and don’t segregate.
At the core of effective teams is respect, empathy and purpose. Individually, team members must remain focused on these core ingredients to achieve collective impact. When we actively listen to one another, including that which is left unsaid, we work to understand one another and can find common ground upon which we can grow. Leaders create cultures where people with diverse views unite in the spirit of recognizing that our diversity of thought fuels our innovation, makes us collectively stronger, and challenges our assumptions. When we segregate ourselves from one another and refuse to listen to understand each other, we grow fearful of those that think differently than us and compete only to win versus improving the quality of life for all.
Be proud of the example you set.
As leaders, others are listening to each word we speak, paying attention to the decisions that we make, and following our actions. There is an incredible responsibility that comes with leadership. We must ask ourselves each day if we are proud of the example that we are setting for those around us.
Expressing gratitude for those that have helped them along their leadership journey is a strong trait of an effective leader. They acknowledge that they have gained valuable lessons from others, that they were open to receiving feedback and using the guidance of others to strengthen their character and commitment to growth. One’s humility demonstrates an understanding of just how interdependent we all are in life.
What additional leadership lessons have you learned thus far?