By Chevine Anderson
Leading is a hard job and an enriching choice, but it is also based on being able to make hard choices. When desire and skill meet, you have a leader and a leader needs tools to accomplish their goals. While working with leaders, as a consultant, for numerous years has been fun, I wanted to share what I have learned from them to enrich your life. My work and research led me to a great but brief definition of leading, and it made me think – does history line up with the brief definition that I found and how can it be useful to project managers and leaders of various types and capacities. If I were to dig deeper into these traits can we all learn something that is useful in every organization for every leader. The answer is yes, and we would like to share that with you today. The definition of leading by Andy Crowe, in The PMP Exam is that great definition and it is as follows:
- Setting Direction
- Aligning People to the Direction
- Motivating People and,
- Inspiring Them to Commit
I understood the why of the definition but it was the how that intrigued me. In this paper, I will outline how leaders show these traits and offer a brief set of requisite skills you may possess if you are leading which were not immediately evident by the definition. And if you find that you need work in these areas, find comfort in knowing that leaders invest the most in leading, its noble work.
1. Setting Direction
- VisionA vision is the all-encompassing picture of your idea coming to life and the strategy that is created from effective design. Whether it is a product or service your must articulate it. It must be charged with purpose and it must state where you as a group, team, and organization will be in the future. It may be a brief statement or a few paragraphs, all are valid. By starting here, you begin leading yourself with clarity.“A leader is the one who can outline the broad vision and the direction, and say here’s where we are going to go, here’s why we need to go there, and here’s how we are going to get there. A manager is the one who actually gets up under the hood and tunes the carburetor.” – Mike Huckabee
- GoalsGoals are about action and not just great ideas. A goal is something that you harness to give power to a plan. These sometimes can be subdivided into tactics that create deliverables.
If success is a process then actionable goals are how you get there. By leading with goals in mind, additional clarity is gained. Goals can be outlined by using a variety of methods that are can help you judge the progress of your efforts. Confucius succinctly stated that the following:
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
- DelegationIt is of paramount importance you feel comfortable setting a direction and then leaving it in capable hands. If you do not master this trait, you will find the job of leading exhausting, isolating, and monotonous. By having a clear, shared vision and concrete goals in place those that follow, know the importance of contributing their best efforts. Delegation means setting markers out in front of them so when the bell rings you are able to step in and reset course and ensure that bell was not a fire alarm.
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Delegate a well thought out plan or your followers will see ineffectiveness and will imitate that. We as leaders are follows to a higher calling, a boss, a board, shareholders, and even our customers and we must be clear in our intent to serve.
2. Aligning People to the Direction
- EducateWhen people understand how their efforts contribute to a goal, the job of leading is more fruitful. Each effort is multiplied because individuals can see where the ship is going when they are rowing. With education the alignment of expectations are gained and the group as a whole is empowered with purpose.“Educate (not preach to) employees about the connections between their efforts, company success and their goals. Speak to profits and don’t be afraid to share financial information. Employees’ expectations become more realistic when you educate.” – Cheryl Gittens
The process of education creates a deeper meaning to the work your employees do and it creates a unified and inspiring calling. Various example of education are investments in the knowledge and technology they need to accomplish their goals and the outcome clearly shared across the organization.
3. Motivating People
- NeedsMaslow hierarchy of needs states all the basic to advanced levels of personal needs that must be covered for a person to be safe and sure that their efforts will take care of their lives. While leading you have to help people fulfill their needs but to be truly effective your leadership should push past that need to a red-hot desire to win or what are you trying to do. People can be average on their own a leader adds to the life of those that encounter them for a cost and for free. This is accomplished through understanding your communication style. Sincerity, emotion, and empathy are a few words that help you connect when you speak enabling you to touch others and accomplish a larger goal.“There’s always the motivation of wanting to win. Everybody has that. But a champion needs, in his attitude, a motivation above and beyond winning.” – Pat Riley
- EmotionEmotions are the driving force for many of the good and bad that exist in our world. The understanding and communication of emotions is what Peter Block in Flawless Consulting calls being authentic. You have to address discomfort head on as a leader so that you are tuned into the groups and individuals emotional impact on decisions being made. Not everyone will agree with each decision being made but as a group, you have to agree that an action will be taken by consensus, majority, or other method that allows decisions to be made when the emotional impact is evident.
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie
Make no mistake in logics use for a sound plan, it is mandatory but without this driving force properly placed your efforts will be less than fruitful. People need to hear kind words and see that you care and are willing to work with them as they work with you. If they do not feel this then they feel used and become unpredictable.
4. Inspiring Them to Commit
- Being the example“I have done that before, this is why, and this is how it was successful or why it was a failure,” are examples of words that can be said by a leader. A leader can communicate these traits to his team or organization by being an example both philosophically and adventurously through coordinated action. Learned and experienced lessons are vital to leadership as they give you grounding for actions being wise in contrast to the members of the group who may want to go left when you know you should go up. You share these examples with your group so that the path to a solution is communicated with clarity. A leader does not know everything but a leader should be willing to get in front of the ship and show why it should be done.“Make it your business to draw out the best in others by being an exemplar yourself.” – Epictetus
- ConfidenceConfidence is the often-unexplainable magical force that allows you to look at an obstacle as a leader and go, “We can make it.” This skill is acquired by being comfortable in who you are as a leader. Each person will look to you to know how he is expected to handle conflict, make decisions, and show care for those around them. You set this tone. There is often a thin line between confidence and being pompous. When you are pompous but do not have talent for conflict resolution, decision-making, and other skills you become a weak link in your team – not a good place. When your confident you seek to educate yourself in the topics and to educate your team in using them as your create independence amongst them.
“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” – Mark Twain
This is a great reminder of what we find in project management during the monitoring and controlling phase, we focus on future actions not fixing the past. This one distinction is like ignorance but is effective because you have to remember the lesson and not dwell on the past.
“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” – Charles Stanley
Take these 4 Keys to Leading and apply them today. You have found additional tools to lead and not just a hammer that makes everything look like another nail.
About the Author
Chevine Anderson is the president of Nobility Advisors. Nobility Advisors’ mission is to help leaders rapidly improve operational performance.
Article source: http://www.pmhut.com/4-keys-to-leading
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