If you go to your favorite search engine and type the word “leadership” in the search bar, it’s going to pull up thousands of articles and quotes online on the subject of leadership and characteristics of great leaders. You’ll find pearls of wisdom from world leaders, sports figures, legends and icons past and present.
I don’t presume I can give better insight into the subject of leadership than so many greater men and women have already done. Instead, I want to take what has already been said and try to apply it to our everyday lives — to give tangible examples on how to live into the principles of leadership.
Leaders Have A Clear Vision
“Action without vision is only passing time. Vision without action is merely day dreaming. But vision with action can change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
It’s essentially impossible to lead when you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing. Without a goal or purpose in mind, it’s also very hard for anyone to “buy in” to you as a leader. When you have a clear vision worth working toward, I believe you’ll find yourself alongside others working to help you achieve that vision.
No matter where your leadership role is — on a team, in a business, or within your family or group of friends — you’ll have a much greater impact if you can cast a clear vision and plan on how to get where you want to go.
Leaders Build Relationships
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Take a brief moment to think of the best leaders you’ve had in your own life. I’m willing to bet whoever just came to mind had a few of very important things in common:
- They spent time getting to know you
- They made it clear you mattered to them
- They challenged and pushed you to be better
Who wants to follow someone who doesn’t care about them? I’ve heard several horror stories about people who hated their jobs because of how terrible their boss was. In the vast majority of these cases, the issues were personal not professional — they didn’t feel valued or cared for as individuals.
If you want to achieve your goals and fulfill your vision, you’ll need the help of a team. To keep that team in tact, you need to invest in each and every one of them. Don’t just tell them, but show them they’re valued and build a personal relationship with them. In short, treat them the way you want to be treated.
Leaders Empower Others
“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell
That theory was put to the test here at DST this past year. When the Los Angeles Angels reached out to our owner to join their staff, Lee could have passed on the opportunity because he was needed here. Instead, he took the interview knowing full well what the results here could be. That decision instilled great confidence in our team. By moving forward, he conveyed his trust in us to thrive without him here.
Empowering others is a process. It means focusing on the what and not the how. It can mean giving up control and relying on others to operate in their own styles and methods; or letting others make changes, try new things, and even fail on their own. But it’s an ability leaders need to ultimately succeed. Because at the end of the day, leaders aren’t making followers…
Leaders Make Other Leaders
“True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.” – Tom Peters