My Top 5 Leadership Lessons Learned

22106868_sOver the many years, I have learned much about leadership. Experience is a wonderful thing. Some experiences are great teachers for you and those that are watching you. I used to joke with my teams about the nuggets of knowledge I gained over my experiences.

Here are my top 5:

1. If you are not willing to clean a toilet, you shouldn’t be a leader. 

There is no job that a leader should not be willing to do to inspire his/her team to accomplish great things. If that means stepping up and cleaning a toilet, so be it! I watched one supervisor being asked if he can do the work that his team is performing. He response floored me. He said, “no. I lead them, I do not work for them.” The person that asked the question just went off. I watched in amazement. I had always thought it was a part of my job, but after that lesson learning experience – I realized it was the most important beginning step to being a leader.

2. Making wise decisions is the center of good leadership. 

As a leader you are called upon to make many decisions. Making the right decisions are based on your wisdom and knowledge. Thinking back, one leader said to a team of us young supervisors, “wisdom is knowledge with scars.” You will make mistakes along the way. Those are your scars. Remember to make the best decision that you can with the knowledge that you have and can get.

3. You can not make everyone happy, don’t even try.

When you first become a supervisor or manager, you will attempt to make your boss, team or shareholders happy. When you are making those tough decisions, you are going to try to make the decision that will make everyone happy. Guess what? Wrong approach. Trying to please everyone is not making the right decision. Sometimes a tough decision for one or two is the best decision for the organization and team as a whole.

4. Having a vision is like a roadmap to getting to that special place.

I used to think vision exercises were a waste of time. After a short time, I realized that without that vision you don’t picture of where you are going. The team starts to wonder where they are going. Decision making starts to wander as well. You need that strong roadmap to get where you are going.

5. Be fully invested, or no one will be.

As the leader, you can not half heartily go through the motions. Your team will see what is truly going on. Their eyes are on you all the time. You can count on them to do something like not being invested as well. Follow the leader… Maybe a leader from within the team will step up and fill that void. I have never seen it for the positive. It is always leads to conflict within the team. You have to be 110% everyday. I used my drive into work to make sure that I had planned out my day, put my game face on and was invested in the day.

There are so many more nuggets of knowledge that I have learned from my experiences. What have you learned from your experiences?

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