Learning to Lead

Won't Happen by Accident

Everyone can and should be a leader, but how do you become a strong leader? Peter Drucker said, “Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and under-performance. Everything else requires leadership.” Executive Business Coach, Linda Krei, with ActionCOACH knows leadership doesn’t just happen and if you have a leadership role, you probably know how true that is. 

Linda has some insight to build strong leadership qualities: 

What does a leader need? 

“As my Master Coach describes it… leadership is about passion and focus. Leadership is about creating passionate and focused people. Leadership is influence. It’s not about position, it’s about action and behavior. Just because you are a manager does not mean you are a leader. That passion and focus must start with you. In order to lead and influence others, we must first lead ourselves.” 

How do we lead ourself? 

“We lead ourselves with our mindset, our decisions, our behaviors, and our personal growth. It is only through our own behaviors that we influence others. If we don’t lead ourselves, no one will follow.” 

What makes a leader good or bad? 

“There are good leaders and bad leaders. Bad leaders still have influence, but they are usually in it for themselves. Good leaders have great influence and are in it for the greater good; the good of the organization’s goals and the good of the community. Good leaders offer solutions instead of excuses. They say what they can do, and do what they say-and don’t talk about what they can’t do. They hold themselves accountable for their actions, decisions, and results.” 

Am I managing or leading? 

“The world uses leadership and management interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. We manage processes. We lead people. Leading is all about understanding ourselves and others and how we respond or react in the moment when decisions are made. 

Leadership must be clearly defined, trained, mentored, and encouraged. Organizations must be intentional about creating leadership behaviors in their people. In order to identify, encourage and develop leaders, a company needs a process of training to recognize, promote, and educate on leadership qualities.” 

What is good leadership? 

1. A great workforce requires that a company identify the leadership traits that are needed to be successful in every position. Organizations must define the behaviors and skills that they want people in those positions to learn and develop. 

2. “Effective leaders encourage people to think for themselves. They engage employees by teaching them how to follow-through on their initiative, and they inspire confidence to try new things.

3. “Effective leaders should encourage the process of talent development, through on-the-job training, external workshops, and a variety of approaches to learning.” 

What’s the value? 

“Consider the value added to your company if everyone who worked there was encouraged to develop the traits shared by great leaders, such as confidence, inner strength, and humility. Bad leaders disparage the ideas of others. Good leadership encourages us to ask questions and listen to the answers rather than talking too much. Good leadership also engages in clear and proactive communication, instead of making assumptions. Good leaders base their relationships on understanding other people, seeing the big picture and teaching people to think and to look for solutions. Good leaders have an ‘abundance’ mentality. 

“Again, leadership does not just happen. Leadership must be developed and nurtured. Every organization must have a leadership development process for every team member. This should include group settings and one-on-one mentorships. Every team member should also have a personal development plan that outlines how they will grow and learn to develop their leadership skills.”