One of the greatest privileges I have been granted in my career is the position to guide the MPS team towards success each day and to build meaningful relationships that have intricate value beyond the workplace. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Although I am far from perfect, I make it a goal and constant priority to lead others the way I would like to be led. I believe that true leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and actions. It is not about a title or position of power. Rather, it is about respect, impact, influence and inspiration. In this blog post I outline the five leadership habits and notions I believe play the most important role in my position. I hope by sharing these, you can positively increase your leadership skills as well.
To all the people at MPS: Thank you for letting me lead you. You are the best at what you do and more importantly, you are the best at who you are. I’m so proud of each and every one of you and I look forward to continuing to grow as a team.
Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms:
A 2018 Trust Outlook published by the Trust Edge Leadership Institute revealed that worldwide, 26% of individuals would offer more ideas and solutions if they trusted their organization’s leadership. Similarly, 26% would also be willing to become a better team player and 23% would be more loyal.
The trust required from an organization and its people is not earned easily. It takes consistency, openness and honesty of the leader. I believe that a modern day leader needs to lead by example and must understand the importance of that notion. It is not about how you behave when everyone is looking. It is about how you are as a human being. It is about doing the right things when no one else is around. Although this seems obvious, transparency can be difficult by human nature so practice and think of it often.
Essential in the interaction with the people you lead is not only the trust you get from, but especially the trust you place in them. This kind of trust means that you allow them to make decisions based on what their roles are and support them in that, regardless of the outcome. As a leader, delegation of authority is the ultimate way to trust people. However, it is often done in such a way that employees feel dumped on because the leader doesn’t stay involved. We have all been there or seen it, and as leaders we need to ensure that we are always available to remove barriers, facilitate efforts and ensure the success of our people.
Teamwork makes the dream work:
I believe that in modern day leadership, success is reached by the teams or individuals rather than by the leaders. Modern day leaders understand that they do not know everything and that making people aware of that doesn’t negatively influence their position. To the contrary, openly showing this vulnerability allows people with the specific skills or backgrounds needed to bridge this gap to add valuable insights.
There is an endless list of benefits to teamwork. If you are interested in learning more about these benefits, start with this great read from Atlassian.
Culture is the shadow of the leader:
Important in a company is the culture set by the leader. As a leader it is your job to set the tone. I believe that a modern day leader encourages diversity, celebrates those who speak up and ensures a respectful atmosphere. In a modern company, diversity in gender, race, background and generations is essential. The healthy discussions and criticism that interactions create must be part of the environment and used to grow as an organization and as individuals rather than to defer blame.
Instead of creating a dog-eat-dog atmosphere where everyone thinks they need to impress the boss, modern day leadership also allows everyone to develop to the best of their ability. This requires a culture where people can express their personal goals and desires. For example, at MPS part of the yearly personnel evaluation and expectation setting includes the identification of personal goals of the employees. Many times, we can help our people achieve the goals they have set by supporting them to participate in additional educational courses such as Masters programs and specific training identified. As an organization, we facilitate this through both financial assistance or planning and by allowing work adjustments.
As a leader, you need to be aware of the goals and desires of your people and regardless of the implications, you need to support them in achieving those. The motto I have as an executive is that I want to support my people in achieving their dreams and make them able to leave the company if they so desire, but to treat them so well that they don’t want to leave.
True interest in those that are willing to work for you is indispensable. This interest doesn’t start or stop at the workplace and is a balancing act between being compassionate and showing empathy while at the same time providing clear direction and setting expectations. Included in those expectations should also be the highest expectations on the leader him- or herself: creating an atmosphere where there is physical and mental safety for all, where contrarians are actually listened to and where people can have a true impact on their own job and the company. Take care of your people and you will be rewarded with great relationships and improved performance!
Without appreciation and inspiration leadership becomes ineffective:
Did you know that globally, a lack of appreciation is cited by almost 80% of people who quit their jobs? In day to day business, a lack of appreciation can be detrimental to not only the people who suffer from it but also to the organization as a whole. Take the time to say thank you!
Further, I believe that modern day leaders inspire, mentor and coach their people. As a leader, your people are your greatest asset and treasure. Without strong leadership, you will find yourself in a situation where all your excellent people have left because of the lack of respect and encouragement they received from you.
A boss has the title, a leader has the people:
Not everyone in a leading position is a leader. It is not uncommon in the workplace to come across assigned bosses who hold their post because of seniority or connections, not their knowledge and ability to lead. Similarly, it is also often noticed that power and status can be a driving force for individuals to make decisions to better themselves rather than their team or organization. This can be identified through taking credit for work from others, surrounding oneself with yes men and placing blame on circumstances and the workers they should be leading rather than on themselves.
The essence of modern day leadership is almost completely opposite: even though C-series executives carry the responsibility for the well-being of the company, it is essential that they understand the additional requirements on them. It is not about charging ahead by yourself. It is about the fact that people actually want to follow, not because you tell them to “or else”, but because they truly believe in you. You are responsible for the failures and to celebrate the success of those that work for you.