Now please don’t confuse the definition of this post with “he who has the gold makes all the rules”; I know I am mixing a principle often connected to religion with business, but my intention is to highlight why the true definition of the rule should be a day to day practice for us all! Through my learnings over the years, I have seen all too many times the impact that leaders in power positions have on their business just by how they treat their staff. I was always lucky for the most part to position myself with company’s/leaders that valued its staff but I really saw a major difference in other companies around me.
I remember as a child being told how important the golden rule was, especially when I was being taught a lesson in how to treat my friends. I carried these lessons as I grew older and really applied them to my core values as I became a leader. I understood that the more I gave to others, the more I grew and strengthened as a leader. The primary secret to having a successful business comes from the focus and attention we put on our staff and to the community that supports us; you will always get back what you give and the people who us support you will do the same as well!
Another part to this is often we aspire to be amazing leaders; we have dreams of being great to those around us but work and life ends up throwing us so many curveballs that we end up reacting and having very little time to be the greatness we so wanted to be! Setting some time aside to think about our leaders’ legacy is a vital part of setting goals and re-gaining perspective as to what our true priorities are.
If you find yourself falling into the re-active category, here are a few steps you can take to control and re-position yourself as a leader:
- Set some time aside and create a list summarizing the traits you want to be known for as a leader.
- Sets some goals based on the list you created above. For example, if you want to spend more time with your employees each week…book the time, enrol your staff in your new vision and ensure that you stick to it! Follow through is directly connected to your integrity!
- Share your learnings with those around you (your staff and those who support your business). Share with them your goals and ask them for feedback; they will want to support your journey as it will directly impact how you lead them and the time you make for them.
- Take some time to develop yourself, even if it means that you listen to audio books in the car if you don’t have the time to read. Surrounding ourselves with new knowledge will inevitably start to influence the decisions we make in the moment. Some great reads are “First Break all the Rules,” “The 5 levels of Leadership,” “Strengths Finder,” “Strengths Based Leadership,” and “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
- Re-training yourself and your habits is much like a new workout regimen; you must be diligent and put thought into every movement you are doing to ensure you are training your muscles correctly. Frequency is the key to success!
- Hold yourself accountable by asking for continuous feedback from those around you; create an open environment where your staff feel comfortable to approach you to talk about where they stand.
- Touch base with that list you first created (quarterly is sufficiant). There will be times where you fall back into old patterns, don’t get too hard on yourself; just go back at #1 and start the list again.
We are all human and we all make mistakes, but its how we correct these mistakes and impact those around us that really counts towards our leaders’ legacy. And just remember…treat those around you the way you yourself would what to be treated!