Apr 7, 2018


A person starts to lead when she takes responsibility of something greater than just herself. Before this, she needs to learn to lead herself. This means she needs to take responsibility and make a decision to sit on the drivers seat. It is quite easy to blame someone else when something goes wrong. It takes courage to admit that I had the choice, I made the decision and it turned out to be wrong. But it's a necessary step towards leadership.

Leader should be vulnerable. Admit your mistakes. Say you are sorry. Ask other professionals for guidance and be willing to change your opinion when you see better facts and hear better arguments.

Don't try to be something you are not. Even if you have a few rough edges it might be better to show them than act. People can see through facades. But if you are rude, it still might be wise to polish your manners.

Empathy is a core leadership skill. But even empathy can be learned. Think about how your actions affect others. Or, better yet, ask them! And listen to the answers.

One dilemma in leadership is that many believe in leading by example. I do so too. But in expert organization that isn't usually a choice. The people in your team are better in their craft than you. So another leadership style kicks in: stay back and let other people shine. Support them. Clear obstacles from their path. And boost their confidence by telling them how much you respect them.
Inhale blame, exhale credit to others.
I'll open this up. You are the leader. You take the blame. Period. It doesn't really matter what happened, it can be discussed later (and should be analyzed with maybe 5xWhy?), but right there in the moment when shit hits the fan you take the blame. No excuses. Then, when the dust settles, you stop for a while with your team and have a retrospective. You learn and you try to make sure the same doesn't happen again.

And the credit part. When something great is achieved it is usually a group effort. Leaders many times get to represent others in events, but when positive feedback is given, make sure you remember that it is for the team. Thank them. Thank them in public. And celebrate the successes in private too. Raise toasts or have a bun together. (bun intended)

All pictures from Gratisography.

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