Listen up leaders!
Great leaders are consistent and dependable. They develop and build trust with their stakeholders and can be counted on in good, bad and downright ugly situations.
Those who lead strong teams show their leadership skills at every opportunity. Each and every day. Great leaders consistently demonstrate why they are the boss by practicing three disciplines – the ability to accept responsibility, listen and engage.
Accept responsibility. President Harry Truman’s desk was famously adorned with a "The Buck Stops Here" sign. Good leaders don't blame others for mistakes. They realize mistakes happen and find ways to turn mistakes into opportunities for learning. Nothing inspires people more than a leader who is willing to take the heat for his team, roll up his sleeves and help find a solution. The mere act of "taking one for the team" can go a long way toward building a strong team.
Listen. Effective listeners win respect, solve problems and create winning environments. The key is to be an active listener. A leader who listens carefully can strengthen the resolve of team members and create an atmosphere where ideas are not only welcomed, but encouraged. Strong leaders practice patience. Even if you disagree or have doubts in what you hear, invest the time to hear them out. The best ideas and insights are most often expressed towards the end of a conversation because the individual has been allowed to fully articulate their thoughts.
Engage. It is critical for leaders to engage with their stakeholders regularly, not just on special occasions, or when a crisis situation occurs. Engagement is part of every successful leader’s regular day and is meant to be interactive, transparent and cooperative. And the job has never been easier. The rapid adoption of social media provides the ultimate playground for regular engagement with stakeholders – both internally on a leader’s team, and externally with his constituents and customers.
Vince Lombardi shared some wise thoughts on leadership. "Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile."