Why is it so rare that employees look up to their boss? Why is it that most senior leadership are referred as more of the senior part and not so much the latter? How come more people don’t look up to the leader of the organization? Why is it so rare to find a visionary, humble, head of an organization?
In the future we’ll look up to leaders who understand and act upon these 3 must do’s.
1. You must have a clear vision.
If your staff don’t know where you’re going it’s going to be very difficult to follow you. If your vision isn’t simple most people won’t get it. If your purpose can’t be summed up in a short phrase, you probably haven’t drilled deep enough. If everyone on the board is comfortable with the simple vision, it’s not provocative enough. If you let a committee come up your purpose it isn’t going to get far. If you think the executive suite are the only ones who can come up with your purpose, you’re wrong. Purpose should be shared just as much with the top row and the front line employees. More often than not front line employees have a better grasp on what the company “actually” does than the executive row.
Business strategy that’s written by mbas is business strategy for mbas. Real people want simplicity, they want to know you care and they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
2. Actually care about people.
Don’t just say you care about people, that’s cliche and every company says they care about their people, very few actually show it.
You can tell what people and organizations care about by how they allocate their resources.
You show people you care with your actions and how you spend your time and your money. Every company says they care about their people but how many create a bottom up feedback system? How many leaders actually have an open door policy? How many leaders would actually encourage employees to speak up when they disagree with a decision?
You show employees or members that you care when you listen to them, when you actively seek their feedback, when you truly want them to be a part of the decision making. If you truly do care about the people you work with, you’ll try to help them. When employees feel their voice will be heard and that they can make a difference, it’s like they’re working with a super power.
Anything becomes possible when the people we look up to empower us to achieve more than we are capable of.
3. Be the hardest working person in the organization.
Leadership is service. Leaders work harder than everyone else, they rarely take credit and they put more fires out than anyone else. Leadership isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work.
Having people look up to you, rely on you, being a part of your team, is a small reward. The larger reward in this situation is watching the people under grow into a better leader, manager, and team player than you ever could be. Leadership is the humble act of always putting others first. When you find you’ve groomed a candidate that people look up to, are inspired by and that works harder than you do, you know you’ve done your job.
The goal of leadership is not to be indispensable, it’s quite the opposite. The goal of leadership is the day you don’t show up, everyone knows exactly what to do and the sustaining work to keep the organization is done.
Leadership is the highest form of service. Never forget that.