To celebrate my birthday, I reflected on the beginning of my own leadership journey. Today, I share the last four of the seven lessons that have shaped and influenced my leadership over the last 20 years.
Last week, I turned 37 and to celebrate, I’m sharing some key lessons I’ve learned in the last 20 year of leadership. Last session, I shared 3 of those lessons and today we will conclude with the last four.
Lesson #4: Assemble a Great Team, Don’t Micromanage, and Listen
Earlier, we talked about the importance of self-awareness. Because great leaders are self-aware, they assemble a team that is not like them. Their teammates compensate for their own weaknesses so the whole team doesn’t suffer. Then, they let those team members do their job with minimal supervision and accountability.
Teddy Roosevelt said, “The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” A leader listens to his team. He lets them hold him accountable, because he knows he’s not always right.
Lesson #5: Character is the Most Important Leadership Attribute
You can have great strengths and an amazing personality, but if you don’t have character, your leadership will erode away. It’s like multiplying by zero. It doesn’t matter how big the number is. Without character, the result of your leadership effort will always be zero. On the other hand, character multiplies a person’s strengths and magnifies their influence.
How do you become a person of character? Apologize for mistakes and don’t act cowardly by trying to conceal your mistakes or make excuses for yourself.
Lesson #6: Vulnerability is Contagious
I’m not suggesting you air your dirty laundry to everyone you come in contact with. But be willing to let others in. Revealing a struggle, mistake, or moment of weakness and sharing how you have learned from that circumstance is powerful. Everyone wants to be accepted, but we are afraid that if others knew about our struggles and weaknesses that they would judge us. But when you have the courage to take the lead and share, it’s like everyone else in the room takes a deep breath and feels free to be vulnerable as well. As Carey Nieuwhof said, “People admire your strengths, but they identify with your weaknesses.”
Lesson #7: Diversion and Rest Don’t Limit but Maximize Productivity
Studies have shown that your productivity seriously declines when you consistently work more than 50 hours per week. They also show that sleep deprivation is one of the biggest productivity killers. If you want to be a productive person, then you need to make time for diversion and rest because they bring energy and physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual refreshment.
As we’ve already discussed, you need to be aware of what activities and people bring you energy. Then, prioritize your week. Rick Warren suggests, “Divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually.”
These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the last 20 years of leadership. If you haven’t already checked out the first three lessons, I’d encourage you do to so. You can view that leadership training session here.
- Take one of the 7 lessons I’ve shared and focus on it for a month.
- If you really want to take your leadership to the next level, pick another lesson and do the same thing.
- Keep doing this for the next 7 months and see how your leadership develops. I promise that it will.