Leadership with my eyes WIDE OPEN! 13 Leadership lessons I am learning . . .

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I am a leader in training. I am constantly observing, studying, recording, journaling the things I am learning in leadership. I read constantly and I am always interested in studying leaders. I love reading about US Presidents and love reading leadership books. I am a work in progress as a leader. Here are some lessons I have collected:

  1. Genuinely care about people. You may not be the most outgoing person but if you care about others, it will develop loyalty, and people will want to follow you. Character matters.
  2. Honesty is always a good policy. People follow those they can trust and know they will be upfront with them through the good and bad. Loyalty will follow.
  3. You will FAIL if you are not approachable, humble, and available as a leader. You will fail because you have not developed the trust needed to succeed.
  4. You MUST give the impressive and provide the opportunity to be accessible to those who follow you. Use Social Media like Twitter with quick 140 character replies, write a blog open to comments, use Google+ Hangouts with discussions, set aside a day/lunch/coffee appointments to meet with others. If you are NOT accessible, I question whether you are even their leader (in title only).
  5. Loyalty as a leader is a two-edged sword. If you remain loyal to your friends who are no longer effective while you are letting go of younger talent, you demoralize those who remain and lose the respect of your younger talent.
  6. Organization rises and falls ultimately on the ingenuity, forward-thinking, and energy of the CEO. Regardless of how visionary, talented, or up and coming the VPs, COO or other lower level talent are, the CEO is at the face of the organization to the world.
  7. There is a true life span to one’s effectiveness within an organization. Boards and executives need to plan accordingly. No one should hold a position indefinitely.
  8. Leaders who lead by fear will ultimately have staff who will leave at the first chance they can with no regrets. Leading by fear such as firing on a whim, micromanagement, and gatekeeping of employees will exhaust your staff, and cause them to be brittle out of anxiety.
  9. Don’t discount the fatigue and cost of long commutes.
  10. Titles are important to people. Be wise in demoting people and fully explain the process to all. Once a person is demoted even if you have not cut their salary, you may have wounded them permanently within your organization.
  11. Accountability is VITAL for organizations and ultimately the success of the CEO. If the CEO does not report to an accountability board (board of directors, leadership team, etc.), watch out they are setting themselves up for failure. Creates a false sense of security and breeds blind spots. Causes followers to raise doubts and suspicions even if there are none.
  12. Release and multiply your leaders. Provide them the training they need, create a healthy culture of productivity, and give them the best opportunities to succeed. If you don’t, you will lose them anyway if you micromanage them.
  13. Leaders allow everyone to succeed when they make a decision and stick with it.Leaders who change their minds often after decisions have been announced, cause their followers to be like seasick sailors who question your effectiveness of handling the “ship” and the confidence of your leadership. Be thorough in your planning and preparation and then see your decision, plan, program through to it’s conclusion.

I have a long way to go. I make plenty of mistakes (including the list of lessons) but I am always seeking to improve. I am learning every day and would love for you to add your comments as well.

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