Lessons Learned – 7 Insights on Leadership
Over the years, I have observed, learned and developed an understanding of what is true leadership. This daily evolution in my journey as a leader has involved learning many lessons, both successful and challenging, that have benefitted all those connected to The THRIVE Network. Below find my Top 7 Lessons Learned:
Leadership is Constant
Leadership is constant. Our perspective on decision making and problem solving must change and evolve routinely. As a leader, you always strive to inspire others to do more, however, it is imperative to ensure your approach is consistent. A tactful, thoughtful approach ensures a more mindful decision process. It is always important to remember, if there weren’t any challenges, leaders wouldn’t be needed.
If nothing ever changed, good management would just be enough. My ability to deal with challenges is what defines me as a leader. Leaders that respond to challenges with focus, resolve, and execution are most often successful in meeting them.
Leadership is about Followership
People must be inspired and motivated to support your vision of the world. The link between leadership, management and enterprise performance is universal. The flip side of leadership is followership. If leadership is important to performance, followership must also be part of the equation.
Followership is the ability to take direction well, to get in line behind a program, to be part of a team and to deliver on what is expected of you. Strong leadership and followership are two sides of the same coin and the consequences are organizational success and positive performance. And remember, we all are at moments in time both leaders and followers.
Leadership through Mentoring and Coaching
It is always important to surround yourself with people who can learn from you and receive counsel through your actions. Being emotionally intelligent is a big part of being an amazing mentor. I know that my personal and professional experiences have shaped me as a leader. I am thrilled to be a mentor to those on my team and outside my industry. The best mentors know how to ask the right questions and are open-minded.
In addition, having an executive coach is key to fine tune your own leadership skills. Strategizing with an executive coach that emulates your ideals and can offer advice is invaluable as you look toward your future responsibilities. Manging life/work balance, identifying potentially challenging targets and how to be prepared to meet those challenges, are key benefits of having an executive coach.
Throughout my leadership career I have been both a mentor and a coach. Mentors, on a long – term basis, offer advice, suggestions and recommendations on approaching challenges. While coaches, in the short- term, assist you in assessing those challenges, thus providing space for you to determine the right next move.
Leadership is Active & Involved
I remain fully engaged in developing my leadership style and understand that my role demands my undivided attention. Staying organized allows me to provide the necessary feedback to my team in useful ways. By motivating and empowering others to assist me with planning and delegation, my skills are therefore utilized in the most appropriate and efficient way.
Because I am an active participant, I can easily assess and manage critical situations. Accepting differences in people and in their opinions, managing conflict and being flexible are keys to leadership success.
Leadership is Life
To live well is to lead well. Personal leadership, our ability to lead ourselves, determines what kind of life we live. My personal leadership determines how I grow physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.
When we lead ourselves in a mindful way, making decisions and choices with our families and friends in mind it reflects on our co-workers and teams. One’s personal reputation affects your professional life and vice a versa. By accepting the reality that your personal and professional life are intertwined only creates a stronger leader.
Leadership is a Learned Mindset & Behavior
No one is born a leader so be prepared to dedicate your time and energy to crafting a leadership style that fits your personality. Leadership is about transparency and communication. Listening and managing are key skills that can be taught. Leadership and the ability to be a great leader is an evolved skillset through on-the-job experiences. By having a variety of successes and failures, I continue to strengthen my skills and adjust my approach every day.
Leadership is Management & Governance
Leadership is having the ability to collaborate and connect with your operational leadership team while partnering with the Board of Directors. The company’s success all depends on the relationship with your stake holders and their respect and trust of various management style. The better management and coordination with your governance and operation teams – the clearer the path is toward joint goals. Everybody will not always agree with or understand your intentions all the time, but your leadership must always be transactional and transformative in creating a cohesive corporate culture and community.
Charles A. Archer, CEO, The THRIVE Network