Top 7 "L"- Words for Leaders
By Kevin Kearns
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I wouldn't normally pick one letter of the alphabet over another. My preference is to value all the letters equally. Except maybe "X" - and only because I never know how to pronounce those words. After all, if it sounds like "Z" why not use "Z"? I digress. So many great "L" words really fit for leadership, so this list of important words was born. I hope the title will help them stick in your mind. Feel free to sing the title if that helps.
- Liquid: Be flexible and always look for the easy way. Water will always look for the easiest way to move. It does not try to prove anything by doing things the hard way. It also adjusts to a change in its environment. If the easy way becomes difficult, it will find the next easiest way to move.
- Laugh: Find the humorous side of challenges and especially your mistakes. It is only work - lighten up! As a driven leader, it is easy to get caught up in making things happen. For the sake of performance (and sanity) of you and your staff, take the time to laugh at mistakes - especially your own! Your team will appreciate that you are willing to look human!
- Learn: If your knowledge is not growing, it is dieing. There will always be something to learn. Our world changes at such an amazing rate. Learn from mistakes and successes. Learn from books and tapes. Learn from employees and customers. Take learning any and every way you can get it.
- Listen: Listen to others and yourself. Okay, you knew this one was coming. Listening has been a crucial part of leadership from level one. However, at level two it was already forgotten and de-valued. If you aren't listening - really listening, you are missing out. Just as important, listen to your gut about important decisions. When the rubber hits the road, there is no honor in doing something you knew in your gut was wrong.
- Level-headed: The sky is not falling, even if it is, freaking out won't help. Your team is constantly measuring their response to situations against how you respond. A leader must always remain calm during tough times. Be it an upset customer, a computer virus disabling your system, or bankruptcy, the leader must not melt-down, ever!
- Long-term: Look at where you are turning, not the turn itself. When you make a turn in a car, you are well-advised to look where you are going, not where you are. Same goes for leadership. What seems easy now may not be helpful in the long run. A leader is concerned about long-term impacts of today's actions.
- Lead: Leading does not mean doing it all. Do not rob your staff of growth opportunities by doing difficult tasks for them. Lead them through the learning curve, so they develop the ability to do it in the future. It may be easier to just do it yourself - but far less rewarding for all involved.
How about that, the basics of leadership formed into a nice little 7-L format. Yet another way to remember these tips, 7-L. So sing them, hum them, read them again - whatever you have to do to tattoo these tips into your brain and into your approach to leadership.
Kevin Kearns is President of Kearns Advantage (http://www.kearnsadvantage.com), a leadership development company. Kearns Advantage works with business owners and leaders to improve results, guaranteed! Kevin holds a Master of Science degree in Organization Development from Central Washington University and is a member of the Coachville Graduate School of Coaching. Kevin also mediates business disputes for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.
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Article Submitted On: February 04, 2005