Before we begin to discuss being a leader, we probably should define what a leader is. This is important because there can be a distinction between being a “boss” and being a “leader”.
Your position may define you as a boss, which provides you with the authority to accomplish tasks and objectives. This authority does not define you as a leader, however. It simply makes you the boss. Leaders can be defined as a person who influences others to accomplish the tasks and objectives. A leader makes others want to achieve the tasks and goals they are given.
That isn’t to say that leaders don’t have tasks to perform. It is just that when they do have tasks they often use the following three “C”s to keep projects running smoothly. There may be others that are important, but we will just discuss these three for now.
A “Boss” may have important information. Having this information may also make them feel important. How you use the information or what you do with it can make you a “Leader” The challenge is the sharing of important information. Other employees may not be eager to share information with someone they don’t know well or do not trust.
Leaders must work hard at establishing good lines of communication. Communication helps everyone agree on roles within the organization, the tasks to be accomplished, the time lines to get projects out the door, learning what the customer wants and describing that need to others, and listening to what is being said.
A “Boss” may just give an employee an assignment and assume it will be accomplished. A “Leader” will coordinate the completion or hand-off of a project/task with those who can best accomplish the goals. They know their people and realize who works best in what area. They don’t just hand an employee a task, they delegate the authority to the employee to get the job done.
A “Boss” may not want to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. They may not want to get their hands dirty as they may believe the job is not theirs to do. A “Leader” understands that collaboration requires working side-by-side to meet the goals and objectives of the organization. Leaders use their collaborative skills to achieve significant accomplishments and they understand, appreciate, and leverage the differences in their people to produce the greatest solutions for complex challenges.
The three “C”s cannot be effectively used, however, unless you have built a solid foundation on TRUST. The relationships that Leaders build form the foundation upon which a company flourishes. Leaders understand that by knowing their employees, they know who they can count on to get the job done.
There are trust builders and trust busters. Look at the following list and see where you are in building your leadership.
- Share needed information Sharing Confidential Information
- Loyal Giving information to outsiders
- Acceptance of others Withholding information
- Valuing others Vague instructions
- Awareness of what is happening Hidden agendas
- Openness Fear tactics
- Honesty Public criticism or embarrassment
And remember, the deepest foundation builder for developing leaders is good communication!
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