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4 Ways to Be Present as a Leader

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Leadership is not really about being in charge, there is way more to it than that.

If you are having to wave around your ‘title‘ or keep reminding people that ‘you should be allowed to do what you want because you are the boss’ thenI want to suggest your leadership may be in need of a review.

The best leaders are the leaders who have a presence. Not in a ‘big brother’, or ‘the boss is watching’ kind of way. It comes through in how people behave, the culture, the communication, the atmosphere. It is hard to define, you could say it’s more ‘felt than telt’.

It’s not about being ‘the boss’ either, ‘telling people’ or even about giving directions all the time on how things ‘must’ be done. It’s not about rocking up and just complaining, correcting and finding fault. You will have a presence but it will not be a healthy one. Anyone can do that.

Instead, it’s about how you show up, how you make others feel, and how effectively you communicate both verbally and non-verbally.  It’s lending a hand. It’s giving a word of encouragement. It’s about seeing your team and acknowledging the effort. It’s about asking the right questions, hearing them and seeing what they need to make them even more effective.

I am always working hard on my leadership and the way I come across by focussing on the following 4 things…

Demonstrate a confidence in your team. Think about it, they are not trying to get it wrong. No one wants to crash. A little bit of belief makes a massive difference. Focus on the wins, give them the thumbs up, be part of the ‘we can do it’ mentality. Confidence breeds confidence.

Praise publicly and criticise in private. Too easy to find fault and go straight what’s not working or not done. I have made that mistake and it was an uncomfortable lesson to learn. When things are not quite right, they usually already know it. Save the comments and review for a more appropriate time.

Watch the non-verbals too. The face struggles to lie. Whether it be disapproval, the rolling of the eyes, or just not seeing people doing things well, the non-verbals are often more powerful than the words we speak. Smile more. Help them out if needed.

Talk with them rather than to them. Ask questions. Learn about their world. Be genuinely interested. As a leader we know what we want and we are trying to make sure others understand that.  It can seem counter-intuitive to slow things down but by being there for the team, serving them, getting involved in their lives and knowing what’s going on will eventually see a lift in productivity and progress happens.

What would you add to this thought? Do you agree or disagree? What’s your experience of a leader with great ‘presence’?

3 Ways a Leader Should Focus

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Focus is important. The ability to be focused and maintain our focus could be considered one of those distinguishing features of a leader. Some just seem to have it. Some need to work a little harder on developing it, the focus toward a purpose or the achievement of something in particular. It’s not about being bossy but instead is about bringing a sense of clarity, of clear vision, of knowing what is needed at a certain time.

The opposite is therefore true. A lack of focus can create unease, an awareness that the leader doesn’t seem to know what to do or where to go. Teams are looking to be led which means as the leader there has to be a willingness to spend time giving focus to the right things at the right time.

3 ways a leader should focus…

In what we SEE. What our eyes see. What we pay attention to. What we look at. Yes, it is about the detail, to ensure what needs to be done is being done but it’s also about the people working on our behalf. When you really see your team you see their needs. and great leaders serve the needs of their team. Focus on what you see and respond.

What we HEAR. An ability to listen. To know what’s being said. The good and the bad, with a willingness to ask the difficult questions. Leadership is about hearing, not just about being doing all the talking because we are in charge. Great listeners learn what will influence the culture in a positive way. Think about what Pastor Andy Stanley says ‘Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say’. Focus on what you hear and respond.

What we FEEL. Getting to the heart of the matter. Developing the gifts within us. Discernment. Wisdom. Intuition. Instinct. Gut. Being led by the Holy Spirit. Too many times I have ‘felt’ that I should do or say something to a person, not acted and then heard later about an outcome which, who knows, may not have happened if I had been obedient to that feeling. Focus on what you feel and respond.

What do you think about this simple but powerful thought?

 

Undervalued Leads to Underperformance 

It’s tough as a leader to hear that a team feels undervalued but it’s important that they feel able to tell you.

It doesn’t matter whether they are actually undervalued or not. If they feel like it, then that perception will eventually feed into the team, their attitudes and how they perform.

Undervalued people will leave teams. 

Undervalued people will leave teams and tell people why. 

Undervalued people will leave teams and tell people why, which can foster animosity towards those who lead.

Nobody wants any of that.

Yet it happens. Not deliberately either. Leaders are busy people and at times they have an eye on one of many things. That’s not an excuse, just a reality. 

Possible antidotes in this:

Leaders – increase your levels of awareness, to know what’s going on, ask the questions, invite feedback, don’t allow ignorance to be an excuse any longer. 

Team – have patience, your leaders are humans too, they get it right and they get it wrong, they may not see it but it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Don’t quit the team, instead help your leader lead. 

What’s your experience of this and how have you dealt with it?