By Jon Schmieder, CSEE
On one of our weekly date nights, my wife offered up a rather poignant statement. After a particularly rough day at the office, she said, “Sometimes being a leader really sucks.” For those in leadership positions, this surely isn’t a new concept. If you are a meeting planer, an event director, a non-profit manager, a parent, a teacher, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, yes, leadership has its challenges. If we turn things around, what are the great benefits of being a leader? Also, what leadership traits make the team or company better than its peers? Below, I offer five components of leadership that make leading worth it.
- 1. MISSION — The best leaders put their mission and their team first and thus help everyone stay focused on the mission Individual acclaim for these leaders comes later, if at all. Their focus is always on the group’s goal and not their own gain. This is one of the most fulfilling parts of leading. When you do something alone, there are very few people to share it with. When you achieve something collectively, you have a group of contributors to celebrate with side by side.
2. ENABLE — Leaders provide support, enabling teammates to gain confidence. Great leaders will drop everything to help their followers. In turn, their teams will feel more enabled and supported, which will lead them to be more successful over time. When people feel safe and know that someone has their back, they become amazingly effective.
3. COLLABORATE — Leaders collaborate to produce winning teams. Leadership comes with strings. You need to deal with every task that comes your way, whether you have the resources or not. Great leaders find a way to partner with others to attract the support they need. Collaboration leads to winning teams.
4. DELEGATE — Leaders delegate, allowing others to flourish. Have you ever delegated a key project or task to someone on your team and watched them flourish? It’s one of the great feelings of working with others, watching someone else accomplish something great. If you haven’t experienced it, try it. Great delegation can not only change your attitude about leadership, but you can also learn a great deal about the human condition.
5. BUILD — Leaders lift up their team and thus strengthen the foundation of their organization.
Team success is about the greater good. Individual accomplishment can still be part of the larger picture, but not if one person trumps the others. When possible, promote the work of your followers and the collective team. Propping up those who do the work behind the scenes not only builds them up but also strengthens the overall foundation of your organization.
These tactics are easy to implement in any organization. However it takes the commitment of those at the top. Make time to check your work. Put these strategies in your daily schedule and make sure you review them consistently as a checkpoint. Small advances in these areas will yield huge gains over time.
Yes, sometimes leadership is challenging, but more often than not, the leadership cloud has a silver lining. Serve your stakeholders, support your team, collaborate with your constituents, delegate to others, and promote your followers. Exercise these five keys to success, and leadership won’t suck.
Jon Schmieder is the founder of the Huddle Up Group LLC, an events consulting and sports tourism consortium. Schmieder has more than 16 years of experience in leading non-profits and sports tourism organizations through strategic growth and increased community collaboration. Jon can be reached at Jon@HuddleUpGroup.com, (602) 369-6955, and www.HuddleUpGroup.com, the company’s newly updated website.