What do leaders do? That’s a loaded question right?
Ask anyone that question and you are likely going to get a different answer from each.
People often have the concept that a leader is:
- in management
- has authority over others
- is the boss
- is bossy
- to be avoided
- full of themselves
- talks a lot
Joking apart, leadership and “being the boss” tend to get lumped together and they can come with negative connotations. This also results in an identity crisis for those in leadership. If you do not know what a leader is, you will struggle to know how to be one.
Bill Gates (love him or hate him) once said:
As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
Source: Brainy Quote
Leaders empower others. That is a far cry from the perceptions of the bossy manager that drags folk along with them towards whatever corporate goal has been set.
My own personal lessons in leadership have lead me to adopt four key pillars. The “patent pending” LESS is more leadership style. (I am kidding about the patent)
See what I did there? Let’s unpack this:
This is not a cliché. Leading is doing the work, being a part of the team. Actually contributing and putting in your all rather than sending out commands whilst the minions do it for you. There is nothing more demotivating to a team than a “leader” that dishes out the orders and sits on their backside.
Do the work. Demonstrate your skills and your knowledge. Show your passion.
You are leading by example.
Need this be said? Encourage your team daily. I make sure that at minimum once a day acknowledge and achievement from each team member and remind them how awesome they are.
I’d be perfectly happy you testing me on that and asking any team member. (Just don’t ask Karthik) #Kidding.
Being taken for granted sucks. I know because looking back on past jobs, managers only focused on what I had done wrong. It was SO demotivating.
Why are parents encouraged to do positive re-enforcement? Because otherwise their child will grow up thinking they have to do “everything right” to please those in authority. I for one want both my children and my team to be confident, happy, independent and strong leaders.
Provide the resources and development opportunities your team need to evolve their skills. (Now that is a corporate sounding statement right? But it needn’t be scary).
Some practical examples
As a company, for our team members, we regularly:
- grab online courses
- buy industry magazines
- share helpful links
- share experiences
- have people shadow each other
- send people on courses
- encourage people to learn the things that excite them
- umm and much much more 😉
Creating an environment of shared learning is an exciting way to support and grown your team.
By doing this you are giving your team the information and skills they need to learn how to achieve their goals, and to perform.
Show you care. Your team are not 9 – 5 staff members paid to do a job, they are your friends and your family. I love my team, literally like a family and we have made sure as a family we go above and beyond to care for each other.
Actions speak louder than words, so let me illustrate real world examples from our business:
The hospital visit
One day Larissa had hurt her hand quite badly. She was obviously in great pain, and yet being British (stiff upper lip) didn’t want to make a fuss. We were not having ANY of it, and instantly bundled her into the car and took her to the hospital. After she had been seen, we brought her to our home, got some hot drinks inside her, as well as gave her a sling for support. We then dropped her home where she promptly slept the entire day, and had the following day off.
Larissa is family, and we didn’t want her suffering for works sake. We know we are family, because we also got invited to their “Family Day” party the other month, and me and her Granny are great pals on Facebook! 🙂
A year ago Karthik sadly lost his Dad in very tragic circumstances. We instantly put all projects on hold, and gave Karthik as much time as he wanted off fully paid. We connected with him regularly for chats, and made sure we sent a significant financial gift to help towards the unexpected costs that would result. Karthik’s loss was our loss, and we all felt it deeply.
It is the anniversary in a few days, and we will be closing the office to mark the first year out of respect for the family.
Serving your team is much more than just being nice to them at work, or making sure there is sugar and milk in the fridge (although this is really good too)!
Become a LESS Is More Leader
This has been my journey so far and I’m still learning!
Now it’s over to you! Do you have what it takes to be a LESS is more leader?
Share your journey and your stories in the comments below.