by Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Everyone has the potential to be a leader. But, often, we assume a leader is a title that an individual holds. Titles don’t make individuals leaders; individuals make themselves leaders:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
This past week at the Northern Kentucky Chamber Women’s Initiative Breakfast, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Tasha Eurich (author of Bankable Leadership). Her subtitle of “Making Leaders Awesome” couldn’t be more fitting. She rocked! As we left the event, we were all saying, I could start every morning with this type of motivation and tools to add to my toolkit. Not only was Dr. Eurich motivating and inspiring but she provided excellent hands on tools to help each of us bring out the leader within and become a “Bankable Leader”.
Are you a leader? You could be. Dr. Eurich defined leadership as “helping people and organizations reach their greatest potential.
”Each of us has the potential to help others become the best they can regardless of the job title or role we play. We all want to continuously improve. But, we need leaders to help inspire this in others. As we become true leaders, we’ll realize many benefits like setting a shared vision for the organization, creating engaged and productive employees, and achieving company objectives. This in turn should result in happier customers. Who could ask for more? But you have to own your leadership as Dr. Eurich quoted “No one will invest in you more than you.” If you want to become a leader, you need to take charge of your destiny.
An excellent way to take ownership to becoming an awesome leader is embracing Dr. Eurich’s concept of evaluating a leader based on People vs. Results. For example, she shared four questions the audience to consider. Which of these two sets of key words describes us best (get ready it isn’t easy):
– Being human or driving performance
– Being helpful or driving responsibility
– Being thankful or driving improvement
– Being happy or driving productivity
Tough huh? It’s the balance a leader needs to make between people and results. Dr. Eurich describes one end of the spectrum on the people side as the “cool parent” and the other end of the results side as the “trail of dead bodies”. Which leader are you? It’s a fine balance but realizing how you can improve on both is critical. I know for me I try too hard to be the “cool parent” and need to find a middle ground between the people and results.
We own this destiny and need to take control of the leader we want to be. As Dr. Eurich shared 70% of leadership is learnable but 50% of leaders are ineffective. Think about the example she shared…look at the person next to you, one of you will be an ineffective leader. “Not it…” It’s going to be work and may take open communication with your team and even guidance from great coaches like Dr. Eurich. The keys to achieving success that I heard were finding ways to set clear expectations with your employees and be open and honest, AKA tell the truth even when it means providing tough criticism. Balance that with empowering your team and trusting them to succeed.
Often we may have misperception both good and bad of our own leadership. Knowing yourself is critical but hearing how others perceive you is equally important. And, unfortunately in today’s world, people don’t actively share how you can do better. Don’t you want to know what you can do better? I know I do but it hurts when you hear it. But, we need to pursue it. Dr. Eurich encouraged the audience to ask others you trust to be honest with you:
– What am I doing that is helping?
– What am I doing that’s getting in the way?
– And how can I adapt my approach?
Once you have feedback, you can create a plan for improvement. Don’t try to tackle it ALL at once though. We can’t change the world all at once. Pick one thing at a time. To pick that one thing consider a few of Dr. Eurich’s suggestions – will this improvement make your work or life better? Is it reasonable? How will you make sure you don’t give up? Can you commit to it without excuses?
What will you do to help yourself become a leader? A Bankable Leader? What’s holding you back from starting now? Need more inspiration, check out Dr. Tasha Eurich’s website (http://www.tashaeurich.com/) and book – Bankable Leader (http://www.tashaeurich.com/Book.aspx).
Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP with strategic HR inc. If you have any questions or would like to share your comments or success stories, you can contact Robin at Robin@strategicHRinc.com.