“Where’s the action? Where’s the game?” is a line in the song “Oldest Established” from the immortal Broadway show (and my personal favorite) “Guys and Dolls.”
For the uninformed, the show is about a craps game and a leader named Nathan Detroit. The movie version stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando and won all kinds of awards.
The plot is about gambling, winning, attracting and making it happen no matter what. The theme is one of looking to the leader to make things happen. And it’s the same in your business – just without the craps game and the songs. BUT not without gambling. All business is a gamble and all businesses look to their leaders to “make it happen.”
Here are the actions I have observed about leadership that are mandatory for leadership success. They’re internal actions that build trust, earn respect and create a team of inspired people – inspired to be productive and do their best.
• Great leaders are value providers, not order givers. At the TOP of every employee’s list of job wants (besides more money) is to be appreciated and valued. When appreciation for a job well done is conveyed, positive environment thrives.
• Great leaders tell the truth. Truth creates trust and confidence and a reliance on the consistency of message. All other leadership characteristics and outcomes fade if there is a lack of truth.
• Great leaders are in control and earn respect. Quick to decide and not afraid to make or admit mistakes, great leaders are respected because they take action and respected because they are vulnerable.
• Great leaders focus on OUTCOME to ensure completed tasks. Don’t focus on task or project completion. Rather, think what will happen AFTER the project is completed. Outcome, not task. Outcome, not results.
• Great leaders are responsible by example and expect the same from their people.
• Great leaders value and display tolerance and temperance. First in themselves, then from others. I’m not a fan of leaders who rant. Lots of successful ones do rant, but there are rules to follow if you’re one of them.
Rule 1 – Praise in public.
Rule 2 – Reprimand in private.
Rule 2.5 – Record yourself doing both praise and reprimand. See how you sound to others by listening to yourself. You may not like it.
• Great leaders are excellent communicators who are listened to intently and are clearly understood. The one characteristic that gets more productivity and generates more achievement and positive outcome is clear communication. Leaders have a responsibility and a challenge to be excellent at it.
• Great leaders train WITH their people, continuously. If training is to have a lasting value, it must have leadership support AND participation. Leaders must train to be better leaders. Start by rating yourself 1-10 on the qualities I have listed here. Anything less that a 7 (out of 10) requires immediate attention.
• Great leaders are wide open to new ideas and innovation.
• Great leaders are tech-savvy. Leaders need to be tweeters, and lead the way by communicating value and ideas through social media.
• Great leaders concentrate on and think BEST. It always takes extra effort to be or strive to be best; that’s why so many people fail.
• Great leaders remain committed. The best leaders never waver. They’re loyal, steadfast examples of what and who others aspire to be.
• Great leaders encourage. They build pride with a “you can do it” philosophy and communication style. They encourage their people to succeed, and do so with a helpful, positive attitude.
Great leaders don’t just lead by example; they set the standard. What kind of standard are you setting?