Okay, quick moment of candor. Lots of people talk about leading their organizations, and many of those same people don't have the chops to execute. Oh, but they have convinced themselves they do.
I've been in the leadership game a long, long time. Not someone who dabbled in it for a couple of years and then bailed out to consult for the next half century. No, I've been a practitioner for two decades...which basically means I've seen a lot...made a bunch of mistakes along the way...and behave far differently today than I did way back when.
The first lesson for me was finding my voice.
Leading with courage...or leading in a gossipy meeting with my clique behind the bright lights of reality...are two very different things.
Once I learned that real leadership would require that I make decisions alone; stand for what is right alone; and that I would earn the respect of my colleagues and employees alone; I knew I was moving away from just being a big talker.
The second lesson was understanding the power of connecting with the whole team in my organizations, not just the ones with fancy job titles. There is something alluring to the novice leader (regardless of their years of experience) when they are around senior executives.
Sadly, the credibility leaders earn only comes in small part from chasing around those executives.
The real gusto comes from being approachable to everyone.
How many of those 'leaders' make it a priority to spend time rounding, or stopping to talk with people, or making themselves available to an employee even when their calendar is double-booked all day?
I highly recommend putting people first. You will be amazed how important they become, and how worthless some of your "leadership" issues are.
How About You
What lessons have you learned about leadership over the years? Do you still believe meetings are what makes your organization successful; or, is there a human connection that removes the label of silhouette from your nickname?
I'd love to hear from you.