The difference between a highly effective leader and a low performing leader is one thing…Character!
My goal for you is to start thinking and feeling like a highly effective leader, how to create a leadership culture, and create an environment to allow you and your team to achieve excellent results. This website and my articles are not about management tools or management processes.
1. Leadership NOT Management
When it comes to management, we must not manage people. Only processes and things can be managed. People must be led by a highly effective leader. Leadership requires thoughts and feelings of self and others, as management does not.
Highly effective leaders work on themselves every single day as they know it is so important to develop themselves. You will be the toughest, and most important person you will ever lead. So, it is just as important for you to work on yourself every single day too.
As you lead and develop yourself, you are respecting yourself. As you lead and develop your team, you are respecting your team, and you are increasing your influence with them on a daily basis.
By living your message, and leading your message through example, your influence will not only increase with your team, but throughout your organisation. To really live your message, increase your influence, and create a leadership culture, you must have a high level character.
2. Building Your Character
If there is something you don’t know, then you cannot teach it. If there is something that you don’t have, then you cannot give it away. Knowing this about yourself and being comfortable by saying “I don’t know” is how you build your character.
Highly effective leaders can increase their influence with anyone, not only their teams, or their colleagues. Highly effective leaders can lead teams in any industry, as the principles of leadership are the same everywhere.
What I share in may articles will help you to strive towards becoming a highly effective leader, and increase your influence with anyone. Whether it be in your current team, organisation, community, friends, or family.
To think, behave, act, and live like a highly effective leader, you do not need a fancy job title. You do not even need to be in a leadership position, or have any real authority. A leadership culture does not require your people to have any of these things.
However, there are lot of people who do think that you need to have the title, position and authority, and it’s because of that they struggle to create the leadership culture. They believe that you need to have the authority to be able to lead and achieve their desired results.
Highly effective leadership is all about who you are, and why you need a high level character. What you are, or your job title is not what highly effective leadership is about. You do not need to have a formal position or authority to be a highly effective leader. You do need to behave, think, and live leadership.
It’s all about respect. Having respect for your teammates, colleagues, and every person within your organisation is what is required to be a truly highly effective leader.
3. Creating A Leadership Culture
Respect is one of the foundations of creating a leadership culture. So, as you respect every single person you will then influence others to have the same respect by following your example.
Accepting responsibility for the results your team achieve is a trait of a highly effective leader, and should be adopted by everyone in the team.
If you are part of the team, and when the results aren’t as good as expected, if you start to blame others then you are on the path to becoming a low performing leader. Blame is not a trait of a highly effective leader, and is not welcome inside an organisation with a leadership culture.
Being authentic and valuing people is most important if you want to lead your team and your organisation through change. Especially if your change is a leadership culture, and is also your message. When leading change, it goes beyond changing things in people’s lives at work, it includes people’s lives at home too.
This change will also have a huge effect on your own life too, so do not underestimate that. In my experience having tried to initiate changes at every organisation I have worked at since 2009, change is personal and affects everyone involved.
This is what it means to live your message. Most organisations throughout the world do not really understand what change means, and what it means to implement change. The best change anyone could ever want to implement should be focussed on people, and how we can help our people improve.
To live this kind of change, we must improve ourselves, and lead the change by example.
4. Living Your Message
I began my engineering career when I was 16 years old as a mechanical apprentice in 1999, working for an automotive company in Liverpool. Following my apprenticeship, I completed my engineering degree, and it was then when I took my first leadership role in 2009 as a project manager.
From 2009 onwards I “climbed the ladder” working as an engineering production manager, engineering performance manager, senior engineering manager, senior engineering consultant, and now I am a writer.
In 2009, when I took up the role of project manager, I was working for Merseyside’s train operator, and my first project was to increase the fleet of train’s wheel life to six years. Without having any idea how to do it, I accepted the responsibility for this.
A few of the guys who I worked with did not give me a good vibe about accepting this project because so many people had tried this before, and failed.
My boss gave me 3 months to work with the engineering team. He empowered me to lead the team in working together to come up with a solution to increase wheel life. Then when we had the solution, I was to lead the team in initiatives on how we were going to implement the solution.
I worked with the engineers every single day for three months, and we came to a solution. This is what I call the beginning of my leadership journey.
Our solution was not a one off, it was making small changes to how we worked as an engineering team, and changing how we did our maintenance. Basically, we worked together as a team every single day to continuously improve ourselves and our product (train wheels). We were striving to become better every day.
If we work on ourselves before we work on anything else every single day, then we will improve. We will improve in our professional lives and our personal lives. When doing this we are improving what we know (competencies), and we are improving who we are (character).
While we are working on ourselves, we are leading ourselves better, and that takes courage. Leadership is not about you, but it starts with you. When leading others, either in a team, or when at home, this also takes courage. Do you have the courage to lead yourself, and do you have the courage to lead others?
Highly effective leaders have the character to lead and influence others through change to improve themselves, and improve the organisation. Low performing leaders lack character, and they do not lead their people through change well.
As a highly effective leader, your team and your organisation need you to pull through when it comes to implementing new changes. It will be your character that will either pull you up or push you down.
How much do you want to succeed? How willing are you to live your message?
To succeed we must work on ourselves every day and constantly learn.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,