There are loads of books out there about leadership. John Maxwell is the expert at the subject, and I have always wondered why leadership gets so much attention. In my mind leadership seems pretty simple. Someone is at the top and they manage and lead the people they are overseeing, right?
It’s not until I got a little older that I realized why leadership is such an art. And one key reason for this is that you actually have to be a very secure, trusting person to be a good leader. Good leaders are rare because people think that the leader needs to be a control freak. They also need to push their weight around so people can see they are the boss.
The micro-managing leader does so because he/she generally does not trust the people they are leading. Or they have not trained their team properly in what they need to do, and as such their trust isn’t based on security, but rather lack of skill.
So whether you’re leading a Fortune 500 company, or you’re overseeing Sunday School, I have come to realize that if you want to be a great leader, while there are many traits you may need, at worst you can start with these three:
1. Have a clear vision of where you’re heading.
2. Give your team clear instructions.
3. Care for your people.
It’s pointless leading people – or trying to lead them – if you don’t yourself know where you’re going. I didn’t say you need all the answers. In these changing times, there have been many moments where I have been the blind leading the blind, but I have always known where we are heading and so I have been able to steer the ship accordingly.
Secondly, train them. Any good organization needs systems. If your team know what they are doing, then you don’t need to micro-manage. You can use the power of teams to achieve a whole lot more, as everything then doesn’t need to revolve around you. You’ve set the vision; now let them help you do the work.
Finally, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. If you have that true shepherd nature in the way you lead, then you’ll create a loyal following. Look after your people. Issues will occur in any organization, but if your team know you care about them, and not just their output, your loyalty will rise accordingly.
We could go on an on about all the other traits you might need, but if you just start with these three then you have got the solid foundations for leading people.