Updated: Nov 28, 2019
What’s on Your Leadership Checklist?
Identifying your leadership style starts with your definition of strong leadership. If you don’t have a leadership checklist, start by thinking of the best managers you have ever reported to, and list their best qualities. Next, add the qualities that you have observed other strong leaders to have. Take a moment to inventory whether these are qualities that you can mirror authentically. When the approaches are ones that resonate with you, you are more likely to maintain them as you lead others.
New to the Workforce?
Not having observed bad leadership is a gift! But be mindful that, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” so invest in yourself to gain knowledge quickly. Investing in yourself to increase your leadership abilities can start with small actions such as reading blogs, listening to podcasts or audio books while in the car daily. There are many resources at your disposal, find the approaches that resonate with you rather than choosing the current “popular” approach to ensure that you will be authentically engaged.
What’s on My Leadership Checklist?
I wrote each of the lessons below over the last twenty years after I witnessed myself, a peer, a team member or an Executive do the opposite. By capturing each faux pas and reading these once a month, I created leadership attributes to strive for and ultimately a checklist for how to lead effectively. My checklist is as follows:
Never bail on your people.
Hold everyone accountable, including yourself.
Be the first one in & always accessible for support.
Lead by example.
Don’t wither in the face of tension.
Don’t cower in the face of adversity.
Never ever give up.
Back your people.
Listen, hear, absorb, THINK… then respond.
Make decisions, do not avoid them.
Never let anyone think we will not make our goals/objectives.
Always be approachable.
Educate the team to think before they answer, rather than answer before they think.
Take a position & stick with it but be mindful to set follow up dates for progress checks & recalibrating.
Never hold your people back from promotions.
Make your people better every day.
Expect more from yourself.
Instill that NO ONE is above a write up for wrong doings.
Say what you mean, mean what you say, & follow through.
Do not overlook Integrity for the sake of a sale or profits.
Do not overlook insubordination & code of conduct issues regardless of results.
Remember it’s not about “me”, it’s about the entire picture & everyone involved.
Always have a plan.
Always have an explanation.
Always have the answer. If you don’t know it, acknowledge that you will seek the answer out.
Strive to increase your knowledge, communication, presentation, management, & leadership skills.
Take it a Step Further
Next, identify what leadership means to you. This is important because when you are interviewing you will be able to identify if the organization is one that you can align with and thus, excel in. I identify leadership as:
Having the courage to disagree when the status quo is to stay in alignment.
Leadership is not about a title, who you lead or how many; it’s about who you inspire to follow and guide to find their own path.
Leadership is sharing your playbook with no concern that it will be used to advance ahead of you.
Leadership is not always an upward path; it’s about recognizing when to take a step back or lateral position to advance your knowledge rather than your career.
Leadership is a dialogue you have with yourself when you are faced with the easy route or the right one.
Leadership is letting your people know that they should walk shoulder to shoulder with you, rather than behind you.
True leadership is encouraging your team to see past the obstacle by making sure that they feel supported enough to go for it, knowing that you are there to support them if they don’t.
Still Stuck on Creating Your Leadership Checklist? Let’s Simplify the Process!
When I am searching for Inspiration, I ask my six-year olds for their perspective. Their honesty and simplicity is refreshing. Here is their definition of Leadership: My daughter replied, “Leadership means leading members to work together, work hard, hold on and keep going when stuff is hard.” My son replied, “Leadership means being good at leading and always helping members if they need help like George Washington and Martin Luther King because they didn’t boss people around, they helped their members instead.” Ask a child for their opinion to get your mind going.
You have a Checklist, Now What?
A plan or checklist without action is just a hope. Bring your checklist to life with actions. My actions are a cultivation of years of planning, failing, succeeding and recalibrating. Ask your team to identify what success looks like to them and ensure that it includes SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals. Write out all goals and see how they align with yours and yours with theirs. Back into your actions by starting with how they finish and each step going backwards from there. Remember that this will be a growing process and your willingness to identify what leadership looks like to you is a critical step in transforming yourself to the Leader that you aspire to be.
What are some of your favorite ways that you challenge yourself to become a Leader? I challenge you to share one tip here so others can learn as well, here is your opportunity to lead others by sharing your knowledge or experience. Thank you in advance, your leadership is appreciated!
Make it a great day!
Letty Sanchez, AEM Executive Consultants