I am fascinated with leadership and the way that people develop their own personal leadership style. I have been very lucky to have worked and learned from some fantastic and inspiring people in my lifetime. While they all had different personalities and approaches in their leadership and management of teams, here are some of the things that most of these people did really well that kept their staff engaged and performing at a high level.
Don’t ever think you’re too high and mighty to say hello to the people who work for you. Not only do you make yourself look like a complete snob, they will most definitely talk about you behind your back, which is never a good thing. Your personality, general mood and perhaps even your integrity will come into question when you disregard a basic courtesy. Ignore the workers and it’s a very fast track to losing respect from your employees and your peers — because they most likely say hello to all of their staff. FYI: Even Her Majesty, The Queen greets everyone. Don’t be shy, be polite. Check your shyness, mood and/or your ego at the door.
Lead By Example
One of the best ways to be respected is to lead by example. When you set the standard, you are encouraging that same work ethic and performance from your team. Think Maximus in the movie Gladiator. Fantastic General, even better Gladiator— although he did lead most of those men who followed him to their gory deaths. Still that says a lot about a man who can inspire you to follow him to Elysium. However, there’s a risk that you might lead too much from the front. Don’t be Maximus and try and take down the corruption of Rome by yourself. Command and lead like he did in the first fight at the Colosseum, The Battle of Zama. This is the only time you should be on your high horse.
Have A Plan
Fail to plan and you plan to fail. It’s pretty simple. Plans don’t have to be elaborate with all the i’s dotted and all the t’s crossed, but make sure you have an end goal of what you what to achieve and how you are going to get there. Planning and successfully executing any plan gains trust and respect from your workers as well. In times of high stress it’s important for your staff to know that you have things under control. Don’t ever under estimate how much your employees are watching your decision making and how well you have prepared for projects and challenges you and your team might face.
Have A Back Up Plan
Sometimes things just won’t go your way when it comes to planning. I believe the technical term for this is “the shit hitting the fan…” However you should already be prepared with contingencies for all kinds of situations that may happen. Theoretically they should never be used, but back up plans will usually help to relieve any pressure that will come your way when your original plan is not going well or needs to be changed. Again, the respect of your team and peers is at stake here, and they will be scrutinising your skills and methods and experience more closely than a Forensic Crime Scene Analyst looking at DNA through a microscope.
The absolute worst thing is when you have a plan, but you don’t tell anyone. Your team members aren’t mind readers and by not keeping them in the loop, they will fill in their own gaps of knowledge, which can sometimes be a good thing or it could lead to an utter failure of your plan. Withholding information that people need to know, either by accident or on purpose, is only detrimental to the overall goals of your work and organisation. Remember that your team is still more than likely still communicating amongst each other, and the less you interact — the more out of the loop you will be. The only time not communicating will work for you is if you are doing something illegal. I’ve seen all of The Godfather movies, so trust me on that.