Jacobs Executive Coaching

Leadership Success Actions (Part 3)

How does one achieve leadership success? In my previous related posts, we explored some of the differences between managing and leading, as well as the initial leadership success actions needed to be a truly effective leader.  We’ll look at three more of these actions.

I’ve often said that leadership is not for the faint-of-heart. That’s because it takes enormous bravery to be an effective leader. If you think of effective leaders for whom you might have worked, I imagine you’ll agree they always acted courageously.

It takes courage to act on one’s convictions. It takes courage to pursue a vision. It takes courage to lead followers.  Remember that your team’s antenna is set on high-alert for any fear on your part, but they’re desperately seeking bravery. Make sure you give it to them.

Leadership Success

The Connection Between Courage And Leadership Success

When it comes to courage, it’s OK to fake it ’till you make it. You can actually act brave before you feel brave.

I often work with executive coaching clients for whom some situations create fear. When that happens, I ask them how they’d act if they were filled with courage. That often works.

When it doesn’t, I ask them how someone they know how is courageous would act.  And that helps them visualize and experience courage.

The adage “Never let ’em see you sweat” is especially true when it comes to leadership. If you need to be scared, do so behind closed doors. But when you’re anywhere your team can see you, you must have your game face on!

And if you’re a collaborative leader, and I hope you are, remember that while it’s OK or even preferable to seek input from your managers and team members, you must be willing to make tough, even unpopular decisions.

Share The Credit

You get a lot of credit, and perhaps praise, as head of your organization, division, or department, right? Well I hate to burst your bubble, but some of that comes from the fact that you’re the head of the organization.

Rather than bask in the glory, now’s the time to give credit where it’s due: To your team.

To quote PR Leader Tom Coyne, “When you get credit, respond with a tennis racquet, not a catcher’s mitt.”

Your willingness to share the spotlight is a real sign of leadership success. So praise, often, and preferably in writing.

Remember, there is no limit to how often you can thank someone, nor to how motivated it will make them feel.

Establish Empathy, Listen Actively

It’s important to remember that leadership is not a monologue. If you’re not engaged in a dialogue, you’re not leading.

In the second post we discussed the importance of having a vision. To keep it shared and relevant, you must understand each of your follower’s values, motivations, worldview, and dreams. That includes their dreams for their careers, and for the organization.

Leadership Success

To do that you must listen, actively and empathetically. That means focused listening, designed to help you truly understand the other person. You cannot do so if you’re the one doing all the talking!

It’s only after you’ve listened, empathetically, that you can help explain to each of your followers your vision for the organization’s success, and especially, their role in achieving it.

So engage in dialogue, and heed what you hear!

In Part Four, we’ll cover the two remaining critical leadership success actions. Until then, please share a comment about how you’ve implemented the actions covered in today’s post, or other actions that have made you a more effective leader.