“Being right means nothing unless you’re the one that holds the cards.” That is what a great boss once told me. He learned that after being fired from a prestigious law firm after arguing with his boss over who was right. His boss said to him “You know what, your right – and you’re fired!” I later discovered that we never really hold all the cards. Even when we own our own companies, we are still at the mercy of our loyal customers our brand and those we hope to gain valuable relationships with in the future. Good leadership is not about being right, it’s about doing the right things.
A good leader understands the value in making mistakes. Being wrong is a humbling experience that teaches us what not to do the next time. Leadership doesn’t require you to know everything, rather it requires you know how to find the answers to questions you don’t know while working with those who do. The man who leads only to “yessers” is a fool. You simply cannot grow if you are never challenged beyond that which you think you already know.
Leadership requires many things, being right isn’t one of them. As a leader you must have the ability to:
Inspire. Bringing out the good in people and helping them to turn that into greatness is one of the most prominent traits of a good leader. Enhancing the lives of others; showing people how to become greater, reach higher and go beyond the norm is an invaluable treasure. People need to know they make a difference and they are valued. This is what leadership is about.
Effectively Communicate. Good leaders understand that effective communication is the difference between speaking to someone and having a conversation with someone. Communication doesn’t become effective if the recipient does not understand the expectations nor have they agreed to meet them. Bring workers into the conversation, don’t just speak at them, engage them.
Delegate. You can’t do everything yourself. If you think you can, you’re only fooling yourself and wasting a lot of time and money in the midst. Delegation is one of the toughest things to do for someone who thinks “nothing will get done right if I don’t do it myself”. Trust that people will do what they say they have the ability to do. Create a check-in to see where they are with assignments and determine if they are going in the right direction. Give constructive criticism, encouragement and make adjustments as needed.
Be Relatable. It’s difficult for people to follow someone they cannot relate to. Strive not to become out of touch and unapproachable. Always stress an open-door policy in the workplace and initiate conversation with your employees. Don’t wait for them to initiate conversation with you. Share personal experiences and stories with your employees. This will draw them in and help you to create a personal connection, not just a surface interaction which only creates surface results.
Confidence is key in leadership. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. We must see the opportunity in not knowing and encourage others to work with us to find the answers. Together you will learn something new, becoming greater collectively and individually.
Mary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter@MVDavids.