When conducting workshops on various leadership topics I tend to list several points for being effective in the area being discussed. Inevitably someone will ask, “Of all the points you listed, which is the most important?” Listed below are several leadership topics followed by my typical response.
TIME MANAGEMENT: What gets scheduled gets done. Schedule your action items in specific time slots. If you get blocked on an item re-schedule it.
COMMUNICATION: Stay in the moment. Wherever you are, be there. Give the other person your undivided attention. Make appropriate eye contact. Eliminate distractions. Ask questions.
MOTIVATION: Help people feel “special.” Pay attention to them; spend time with them; get to know them; take a sincere interest in things they are interested in; listen to them; and encourage them.
PROBLEM-SOLVING: There is no “all of a sudden.” What appears to be “all of a sudden” when you are overwhelmed with a problem usually started very small some time back. When appropriate tracking and measurements are in place you can catch problems when they are small and easier to correct.
ACHIEVEMENT: Paul J. Meyer said it best, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.” The first three points are important and enthusiastically act upon is vital for achievement.
MANAGEMENT: Recognize and reward the behaviors you want repeated. The best forms of recognition usually don’t cost anything. e.g. a simple thank you. a “well done,” a hand-written note, a thumbs up, etc.
KEEPING SCORE: What gets measured gets done. Set up a scorekeeping system on the key result areas that will help you achieve your goals. Keep your system simple, dynamic, and visible.
You don’t need a title to be a leader. Effective leaders get people to follow them and take action on their ideas because the followers want to, not because they think they have to. The best leaders bring out the best in others through encouragement, not coercion.
Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
William Arthur Ward