So what does leadership mean to you? Is it simply the person that you report to at work every day? Is it the person that signs your paychecks or is it the person that you look up to because they inspire you to be the best YOU that you can possibly be? I have been in both positions I was in various management positions for several companies throughout my undergraduate college career. I literally came to work every day, instructed my employees their duties to “efficiently” perform their jobs, the whole time not caring how their jobs affected the company or if they succeeded within the company. I was there for one reason and one reason only: to collect a paycheck every two weeks. I was a horrible leader to the teams that I supervised. Nobody wants to follow someone who does not have direction (you need to have faith in them and trust where they are leading you). A great leader is always looking ahead. This does not mean that the leader is always prepared, but that leader always takes necessary action. I think it is important that leaders know that it is ok to mess up, it is ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are bound to happen, however, I think the key thing to remember is you must always propel further regardless of obstacles that arrive (and there will be obstacles).
In everything we do in life, it ultimately starts out with a vision. Whether it is planning what you want to wear to that party tonight, or how you want to rearrange the furniture in your bedroom, you envision it before you take action, right? So it should come as no surprise that leadership success, too, always starts with a vision. At young ages we have big dreams. Dreams of what we want to drive, where we want to live, and the person we want to grow up to be. If we are lucky we have family and friends who support our dreams, but sometimes we are taught to give up such “foolishness” and be “realistic. We are taught to place limitations on ourselves. I recently watched a video of Oprah on “Super Soul Sunday” and she was encouraging a group of youth to “relax and dream” with no limitations. Leaders must know that it is ok to be afraid, but learn from your losses as well as your accomplishments. Then that leader can take what they learn and encourage the team of those they are leading and those that are following them, and teach them so that they don’t have to make the same mistakes.
“The only visions that take hold are shared visions” (source: To Lead, Create a Shared Vision). I think that this is a quote that all leaders should adhere to. A shared vision, is shared among your entire team. When a vision is shared, everyone involved has both input and output and when everyone has a shared, vested interest in the output, they will contribute equally to the input. I love how companies are taking different approaches in 2016 to make sure that they have shared input by everyone. A lot of companies, including mine, have adopted what’s known as “stand-up” meetings. A stand up meeting is not just about everyone coming and standing up so that the meeting is brief, it is much more to it than that. Stand up meetings were designed to enhance the quality of meetings based on group decision making. Studies have actually shown that stand up meetings actually made attendees feel quite awkward therefore producing no better results than traditional sit down meetings (source: The effects of stand-up and sit-down meeting formats on meeting outcomes). My company actually has a stand up meeting every Wednesday morning at 8:30 in a large training room. Everyone is expected to attend unless they are otherwise engaged with a client. I will admit I found these meetings rather “high school-ish” and overwhelming. These meetings are used to not only discuss performance and goals but also to educate the company on new information, whether it be competition, industry trends, or new company products or services. All of the information shared during these meetings is beneficial to know to better serve our clients. I think these stand up meetings are definitely a great way to ensure that everyone has a platform to give their input.