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January 2007 Edition of Leadership Tools Monthly News has arrived!
January 24, 2007
The Leadership Commitment
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So often in business we make the mistake of assuming a person is a leader because he or she holds a certain position of influence or authority.
Unfortunately, many in positions of power are not at all equipped to properly carry out their leadership responsibilities. Because they have never truly studied leadership, they can only pretend to know it’s true meaning.
It’s quite common for people in management positions to “comply” with the duties of their role, but they never actually “commit” to doing what’s necessary to overcome their learning curve.
The difference between “complying” and “committing” to the responsibilities of leadership are of paramount importance.
To comply, is to only do the bare minimum that is necessary in order to meet the basic expectations of the role. When it comes to creating an inspiring vision; planning ahead to ensure quality results; communicating and exhibiting a message of enthusiasm, hope and security to those working within the team – the leader who simply complies, will always be out performed by the leader who is truly committed.
How sad that anyone should work for someone who possesses only the smallest amount of leadership skills. Each of us deserves the very best effort from those we report to. The worker’s commitment to his supervisor is in direct relation to the level of support and commitment the supervisor has for his or her team members.
Anyone holding a position of influence over others must realize that their daily decisions impact the lives of the people they lead. A good leader never takes this fact for granted. Leaders must clearly understand the power they possess, and how their actions and decisions impact their team members. Leaders who do not take this role seriously do not deserve to hold the title that has been entrusted to them.
A leader who is not committed to developing him or herself in the area of leadership, who only “complies” in order to meet basic expectations, should not be allowed to continue in the leadership role. In short, people deserve better, and they should demand more from their leaders.
On the other hand, the committed leader – the one who is continually seeking out solutions; growing his or her skill-set; working to innovate, create, reorganize and improve things – for the customers, the employees and the organization – is a leader who is truly deserving of the title.
In the coming year, you are encouraged to re-commit yourself to becoming a better and more effective leader. Leaders who are committed to growing, are constantly learning. They seek out information that will help them to add more value to their team and their organization.
Challenge yourself to identify a new book, a training class, an audio program, or some other kind of leadership tool or resource that will keep you on the path of self-development and personal growth.
As a leader, you must understand that the level of commitment your employees have toward you and the organization, is most greatly influenced by you. Your personal commitment to the success and growth of each team member is the one thing that will do the most to solidify their personal commitment and full engagement in the workplace.
Of all the interactions managers can have with their employees, it’s that personal time, one-on-one, where you provide helpful, informal feedback, which will have the greatest impact on employee performance.
A leader wears many hats. One highly important hat that is worn by every leader is that of an effective coach.
Every established leader can think back and remember a few highly influential people who contributed to their personal and professional growth. Some of this coaching may have been very formal, while most of the key lessons were acquired over time, through day-to-day observation.
Now it’s your turn to provide the same opportunities for your employees. You need to be the coach that they will one day remember as being one of those few leaders who made a positive impact – someone who made a difference in their ability to succeed and effectively lead others.
Healthy and trusting relationships are truly at the core of effective coaching. Take each of your employees one by one; ask yourself what kind of relationship you have with that employee; does he trust you; does he respect you, does he work hard for you?
Be completely honest with yourself - have you created a relationship that is adversarial; does the employee fear you; does he feel that you are unapproachable; does he typically do only what is asked of him, nothing more?
Your ability to coach effectively is greatly impacted based on the quality of the relationships you form with your employees. By no means does this require you to be everyone’s best friend. However, there does need to be a basic level of trust and respect in place in order for coaching to be effective.
Below is a Coaching Self-Assessment tool that you can use to rate yourself opn your effectiveness as a coach.
This short list of questions can be used to help you determine areas where you may need to invest additional time; help you initiate a positive conversation with each employee; and to determine what each employee needs from you as his or her coach.
(In each category, rate yourself as either:
Strongly Agree, Agree, or Needs Attention.)
The above list of questions provide some tremendous insights into how coaching might play a key role toward increasing the overall commitment of your team. Use the information you’ve gained to become a more effective coach and leader.
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