This philosophy of leadership started taking shape when I served as executive director of the La Conner Chamber of Commerce in northwest Washington State and as I was just starting graduate school back in 2004. It has been tweaked only slightly over the past decade and shared at chamber membership luncheons, and in leadership presentations and college classrooms. This blog post is the first time I have “put it out there” widely.
Here is my “top ten” list. What’s yours?
- Connect people, tasks, and outcomes to achieve cohesion and measurable success. Does your organizational system of tasks and reporting structures make sense? Is it efficient and effective?
- Establish meaningful communication channels. What is the make-up of your existing team? Boomers? Xers? Millenials? Did you know they don’t all prefer to communicate in the same way using the same methods?
- Keep a reasonable pace. Do excellent work, by all means. However, don’t knock yourself out so that you have no energy for your personal life or for the next big project. How high can the bar reasonably be set? If it is set too high, and even achieved, it can only be sustained so long.
- Maintain course direction through a filtering process. Myriad ideas and suggestions come at us daily: “you should do this; have you thought about doing that?” Filter them through your current strategic plan: do these new ideas or suggestions help you in reaching the current goals and objectives? If not, store them for the next round of planning.
- Listen intently. I mean really Listen to what is said, and what’s not said. Consider perspective and the various thought processes and approaches in any given room at any time.
- Work attentively and respectfully with other organizations. Many of us come together for a common or complementary purpose, or to collaborate and partner on a project. Be mindful of everyone’s expertise, strengths, limitations, and time.
- Carry out tasks as if the Vision Statement is a snapshot of the current environment. You should already know that vision statements should be written in the present tense. You are more likely to achieve that desired future state if you treat it as though it is already here.
- Take care of self and organization – health of each is reciprocal. Our personal health (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) can affect the workplace if not in good standing. Likewise, if the organization is struggling or experiencing negativity, it will many times spill into the homes of its team members.
- Be authentic when serving those around you, whether they are your employees, co-workers, members, or community. Be genuine, sincere, and always yourself. A climate of openness and trust will prevail.