Andy Falconer

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10 TIPS FOR BECOMING A LEADER WORTH FOLLOWING

31 Mar 2016 | Leave a Comment |

The secret of leadership and being a great leader1 is knowing yourself and your tendencies, which allows you to lead yourself first, according to Jeremie Kubicek, CEO and co-founder of GiANT Worldwide, a global leadership consulting firm. He believes that once you become competent in leading yourself, the secret to leading others lies in understanding when to alternately support and challenge them with consistency. When people see you leading yourself and know you are for them, then they are more apt to follow you, because they perceive you as a leader worth following.

Jeremie has closely observed traits of the very best leaders in the world and has been around some of the worst. At the end of the day he wants to be known as a leader worth following who was constantly fighting for the highest possible good for those he leads and loves. Isn’t that what we all want?

I was sent the following from Jeremie the other day and it resonated with me, which is why I’m sharing it in it’s entirety.

“Have to” vs. “Want to”

Have you ever worked for someone simply because you needed a job or a pay check? Being in that situation isn’t very fun.

Mentally, “want to” vs “have to” is a very different thing. When we want to work for someone, life is much brighter. When we work for someone worth following, we have a spring in our step, we want to hustle and work harder. But, when we are forced to work for a weak leader, even things we like to do become tedious.

What is the difference? Why do we want to work for some leaders while others provoke us to talk behind their backs or applaud when they leave?

Leaders Worth Following

At GiANT they have a name for leaders worth following. They call them “Liberators”. A Liberating leader learns how to calibrate support and challenge in a way that communicates that they are for you. When you know a person has your back, you are more open when they bring challenge and constructive criticism. A Liberator is like the best coach or teacher you ever had, fully equipping you and getting the most out of you.

Liberating leaders fight for the highest possible good for those they lead.

Is anyone fighting for your highest possible good?

What do they do to show support and challenge? More relevantly: Are you fighting for the highest possible good of those you lead? Are you liberating others or dominating them? Are you a leader worth following or the one who people grumble about after work?

If you want to grow in your ability to lead, here are 10 tips to help you become a leader worth following.

 


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Lead yourself first. The biggest frustration we see in leadership is hypocrisy. When you tell someone to do something that you are not doing yourself, the hypocrisy leads to gossip, drama, and a lack of trust. Leading yourself means becoming self-aware; it’s learning to look for and see issues in your own life before pointing them out in others. The phrase we carry with us is, “know yourself to lead yourself”.

Understand your tendencies of support and challenge. Liberating leaders calibrate high support and high challenge. I want you to consider your leadership style: Do you have a tendency to be more supportive and encouraging? Or do you tend to be more task-focused with high expectations? Both support and challenge are needed, but there are healthy and unhealthy versions. When you learn how to use them appropriately and in a healthy manner, you will be the type of leader that others want to follow. Recognize your tendency and adjust accordingly.

Learn how to be consistent. One of the keys to great leadership is consistency. The inconsistent leader wreaks havoc on their organizations and teams precisely because their ups and downs prevent those they lead from being able to get into a rhythm. This lack of consistency results in communication problems, morale issues, lack of trust, and gossip. Learn how to consistently communicate, train, share ideas and organize. Consistency is an under-discussed (and certainly under-utilized) art.

Be present and productive. There is a growing tension between work & life balance. Smart phones, working from home, and social networks can trick us to into being physically present but socially and emotionally disengaged. Great leaders learn how to be both present and productive at home and at work. The secret is to learn to be in the “right gear at the right time”. Look at your daily routine and find areas where you’re not being present (but should be) and begin learning how to shift in and out of being present and productive.

Lead intentionally. Accidental is reactive. Intentional is proactive. Leaders worth following are those that think ahead. Positive change, growth, and gaining influence doesn’t happen when you are accidental. Leadership is easy to abdicate. Great leaders know being intentional is worth the effort it requires.

Eliminate insecurity. Insecure leaders are dangerous because they leave a wake of damage in their teams and families. Secure leaders create an environment of empowerment, opportunity, and growth. Before you can eliminate insecurity, you first have to spot it. Consistently check yourself for unhealthy self-preservation with these three questions: :

  1. What are you afraid of losing?
  2. What are you trying to hide?
  3. What are you trying to prove? To whom?

Be confident. Each of us have skills and abilities that we bring to the table. Some people make their talents known by being overconfident, and consequently push others away. Others devalue their own talents and appear timid or insecure. Good leaders take time to discover their strengths, deal with their insecurities, and walk in confidence knowing they play an important role. When you appear arrogant or insecure, you cripple those around you with frustration or doubt. Note: arrogance and confidence are not the same thing. Humility must be at your core.

Lead for the sake of others. Leadership is influence, and influence gives you power. How you use that power is extremely important. Prideful leaders use their power to manipulate, dominate, and overpower others. Humble leaders use their power to empower, serve, and liberate others. We need more leaders who lead for the sake of others, not for the sake of themselves.

Know those you lead. Everyone wants to be known. When you spend time building real, authentic relationships with your team members, they will open up in unexpected ways. This usually only happens once they know you are for them, not against them or for yourself. You will also discover how to inspire and encourage them to grow and you will continue building a culture of trust and security which is foundational for success.

Make it fun. Leaders should make life and work fun. Lighten up, please. Think intentionally and proactively how to make your culture more exciting. Create opportunities at lunch or special dinners. You don’t need to be like Michael Scott from The Office when he winds up making everyone feel awkward around each other. Instead, think about how to appropriately make things fun with those in your world. Work on the culture and you will get strong results.

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