In the quest to become a successful leader, certain lessons along the way come as a surprise to some. You are confident in your education, have built skills around your strengths, have developed strong relationships with your mentors, have led by example and you have respected the process of perseverance and patience.
In other words, you have earned the opportunity and privilege to lead.
“Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.”
What you can’t prepare for is how lonely leadership actually can be. In times of adversity, standing your ground for what may be perceived as unpopular opinion will define your character. It may also be intentionally lonely if you sincerely treasure the role because your goal is to always allow your team to be in the spotlight. Whether it is adversity or by plan, it can catch a new leader off guard until they experience it firsthand. It is an extremely valuable lesson, one that over time will build you and your reputation as an effective, respected, and trusted leader.
Don’t let this deter you from your goals if you have a desire to lead, it will be the most rewarding experiences of your life. To be the lead in representing a culture of values and integrity with a team of eager, enthusiastic and committed people is a privilege. To witness the dynamics of a team’s chemistry work; to put a vision into reality and see those you support grow and prosper into their own is fascinating to witness. In other words, the most rewarding aspect for a leader is to develop other leaders and witness their success. This is your primary job, preparing others for success through connection, inspiration and clear and concise plan of development.
What I have personally found in my own leadership journey is that sitting at a table for one is not always a bad thing. Being selfless and praising those who are committed to the big picture should become your routine. Timing is everything, knowing when to teach and when to praise is critical. Giving the proper attention to each is imperative. The bigger the team, the more effort it will require on your part to find a connection with each member of your team. Gone are the days of “cookie cutter” leadership. Effective leaders don’t cast a net — they have a personal touch for the individual, and focus on the respective development based on the respective strengths their team members hold.
The behaviors you model will determine the results. In other words, it is not just your responsibility to lead effectively. It is your obligation.