Last week, while traveling around covering a few college baseball scout days and watching a fall junior college baseball tournament, I observed the leaders at these particular events. I observed how they managed those who were entrusted to their leadership. In addition, I observed how the players and assistant coaches responded to their head coaches leadership.
Recently, I read a story few months back, where a seasoned leader asked a group of young leaders for a show of hands on who had experienced either over-supervision or under-supervision? Almost every hand went up. However then the question was asked how many did they themselves over-supervise or under-supervise with the people who were now reporting directly to them? Only one or two hands shyly peeked out from the crowd.
So what’s going on? Well, leaders can sometimes be unaware of what they should and should not be doing. Many are unaware or just lack the skill it takes to lead. This lack of awareness separates good leaders from great leaders. Leadership is hard. It is challenging. It’s a daily process. Great leaders know that leading is a never ending journey that can be filled with treacherous obstacles.
So as a leader, what do you need to know to become a great leader? Below are a few very important thoughts and ideas to be aware of…
People Are Unpredictable: Those you are leading may not necessarily react the same way each and every time to you. You yourself may also change from day to day. So always using the same style of leadership may not always yield the best results. Instead, great leaders tailor their approach to each task, situation, and individual to effectively meet the needs of those who report directly to them. The following is vital and I can’t emphasize it enough; find out how those you are leading are doing, and what’s going on in their life. Spend time with them and get to know them…and then use that knowledge to better inform how you should lead them. Because people are “wired up” differently, you cannot lead everyone the same.
It Takes Skill: It’s easy to fall into a routine. We are all susceptible to it. That’s why we have habits. However as people are unpredictable, you must also be flexible in your style of leadership to be able to match in each unique situation. The best way to do this is to have a learning-oriented mindset, by being on the lookout for new approaches, practicing other styles of leadership to be more flexible, and keeping up-to-date on what’s going on with those you are leading, your organization, and beyond. A great leader would be wise to always say, “I have so much left to learn in being a leader!” Always remember; “pride comes before a fall”, so stay humble! Great leaders are always life-long learners.
It Takes Time: Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to immediately improve your effectiveness as a leader. Remember, it’s a life-long journey. It’s about progress NOT perfection. You’re going to make mistakes. That’s expected. As with anything, developing your leadership from good to great takes time and patience to develop. Don’t beat yourself up. However, you should consistently be trying to improve and grow as a leader. Read books, listen to leadership podcast, and spend time with a respected leader, a mature accountability partner weekly. There’s no finish line, but instead a continuous evolution of who you are as a leader, being able to serve those you are leading more effectively with each passing day. Because great leaders serve…not demand to be served.
Keep your hand to the plow and keep leading with integrity of heart.
Have a great week!
Are there any additional ideas or thoughts you would add to this list?