I am very passionate about leadership. To that end, I devour every good read on the topic in my efforts to improve my leadership skill. Part of this learning process is sharing the advice and examples that have really made a difference in these pursuits. Neal Hanks, President of Beverly-Hanks & Associates in North Carolina is a good friend and forwarded something last week that I’d like to share with you. It’s a valuable piece of advice from Jon Gordon, speaker, consultant and author of the international best seller The Energy Bus, The No Complaining Rule, Training Camp, The Shark and The Goldfish and his newest book Soup: A Recipe to Nourish your Team and Culture. This information can help you as you develop your business and career and in your own pursuit of better leadership.
Jon and his books have been featured on CNN, NBC’s Today Show and in Forbes, Fast Company, O Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His principles have been put to the test by numerous NFL coaches and teams, hospitals, Fortune 500 Companies, school districts and countless leaders in business, healthcare and education.
I believe every leader must understand, value and practice each of these thoughts Jon Gordon put together:
1. People follow the leader first and the leader’s vision second. It doesn’t matter if the leader shares a powerful vision or not. If the leader is not someone who people will follow, their vision will never be realized. As a leader, who you are makes a difference. The most important message you can share is yourself.
2. Trust is the force that connects people to the leader and his/her vision. Without trust people will never board the bus. However, if people trust the leader they will hop on the bus and help drive it forward towards the vision.
3. Leadership is not just about what you do but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do.
4. A leader brings out the best within others by sharing the best within themselves.
5. Just because you’re driving the bus doesn’t mean you have the right to run people over. Abraham Lincoln said “Most anyone can stand adversity, but to test a man’s character give him power.” The more power you are granted the more it is your responsibility to serve, develop and empower others. When you help them grow they’ll help you grow.
6. “Rules without Relationship Leads to Rebellion.” As a leader you can have all the rules you want but if you don’t invest in your people and develop a relationship with them they will rebel. This applies amazingly to children as well. It’s all about relationships.
7. Lead with optimism, enthusiasm and positive energy, guard against pessimism and weed out negativity.
8. Great leaders know they don’t have all the answers. That explains why all great leaders build a team of people who support the vision, contribute to the answers or execute on finding them.
9. Leaders inspire and teach their people to focus on solutions, not complaints. (The No Complaining Rule- www.NoComplainingRule.com)
10. Great leaders know that success is a process not a destination. One of my heroes John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, never focused on winning. He knew that winning was the byproduct of great leadership, teamwork, focus, commitment and execution of the fundamentals. As a leader, focus on your people and process, not the outcome.
Special thanks to Jon Gordon for 10 thoughts about leadership and Neal Hanks for passing along this important piece.