I don’t know when we’ll get back to “business as normal,” when shopping, going to work, hanging out, traveling and more will be done without more than the usual smart safety precautions (don’t have money hanging out of your pocket, make sure to wear clothes, don’t forget kids and pets in the car, and have snacks in case of emergency), but there’s a big part of me as an active part of society that feels that we have to keep sharing our stories, keep supporting each other, keep the money flowing and keep making progress in our world. As much as great ideas can be created while sitting on the couch, and maybe a website or app or two, we’re not meant to live on couches for our whole lives.
Over the past few months as I’ve said before, we’ve seen some stellar examples of leadership, and we’ve also seen the true colors of some “leaders.” So I’ve postponed the blog post I was going to share today and instead I’m feeling led to share on the topic of leadership and 3 indications of what makes a good leader.
First, a leader is someone who listens. This is something that’s being done a lot right now, that more people than ever are truly listening to the brothers and sisters of all backgrounds that they share the world with. I wish people took time to truly listen to each other more often, because it would avoid a lot of confusion and would help all of us come up with solutions that are actually helpful instead of just what we think other people want. Of course, it has to be true listening, where you are trying to understand and not where you’re smiling and nodding just to pacify someone.
Second, a leader is someone who learns. We can learn from books, from TV shows, from the little children in our lives and that we see while out and about, from animals, from our significant others, from the people we work with and sell to, and from many other sources. Of course, it’s always better to learn true things, for example learning about how the earth is flat isn’t going to be too helpful unless you’re studying it to learn about the people who thought that, but we don’t always know what’s true or not until we’ve done more research. But as the saying goes, a day in which you learned something is a good day. I subscribe to lots of newsletters, read books regularly, listen to what others have to say, and make time to watch more educational programming on TV to try to learn something every day.
Third, a leader is someone who leads. Sometimes this means empowering your team to do work for you (and not micro-managing them while they’re trying to get stuff done), other times this means letting people go or stopping things from continuing, some times this means getting down and dirty with your people and physically getting in front and guiding the way, sometimes it means making extra efforts to communicate and/or encourage, and other times it means taking a stand against injustice or hurt/hate. Leading isn’t always about being in the front, doing all the work or being the loudest voice, but it does mean you step up and forward in whatever ways are necessary.
As we move into whatever the next stage of our lives and world may be, I encourage you to be a true leader in your business, your community and our world. Which leaders do you admire and learn from?