There are many wonderful books, articles and resources that help new leaders become great leaders; yet, from my 40 years of experience, there are some things that these resources do not mention. I think those things are critical for leadership success. They are as follows:
• Never pass the buck: No matter what happens, in the end it is you who must take responsibility. You are the final say, and even though things may happen without your knowledge or concurrence, you need to take the blame (and credit). You must develop broad shoulders.
• Stay connected to peoples’ needs: Your people are your life blood and the heart of your organization. You must know what makes them tick (and it is not always more money), The more you stay connected to your staff the better off you will be.
• Don’t let things slide: If I have learned anything it is to handle the things on your plate as soon as possible. Trying to put them off is a huge mistake, since there will be 15 other things that need your attention while you could have been handling the item in front of you.
• Do not care if you are “liked”: It is not important for your people like you. Some will, and some won’t. Often leaders do things to ensure they are liked. That is a mistake.
• Care if you are respected: What is important is that you do your very best, work harder that anyone on your staff, and stay connected to the needs of your people and your customers. Doing those things will ensure that you are respected, which is more important in the long run than being liked.
• Be real: Authenticity and openness are critical in your leadership job. Your leadership ability IS you. There is no way to differentiate the two. As the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
• Put ethics and integrity first: Finally, do what is congruent with your values. You know in your heart if a decision is right or wrong. Always do what your heart says is right. If your do, you will never be wrong!