Leadership tips from Valentine

  • Thursday, December 12, 2013

Leadership is not an easy job. People who are hardest on leaders and are the most critical of their every mistake are people who have not worn the leadership shoes.

If you have not been there you don’t know what it is like.

No leader who has a heart wants to use threat or intimidation to get people to cooperate or do what they should do. There is no magic wand that any leader has that they can wave to make those they lead fall in place and do what they should, but there are things they can do to lead others more effectively.

Here are two leadership tips that we all can use that would enhance our leadership role.

Instead of lecturing, listen.

I remember listening to a group of workers who had the experience of someone coming in the organization and before talking to anyone started to make wholesale changes. The changes were not for the better because the new leader did not have sufficient inside information to properly evaluate what changes to make.

But even if those changes had some merit, the staff so resented the autocratic, dictatorial attitude of the new leader that they complied only to the extent that was necessary to keep their jobs and they resented the person.

It is said that before you ask for a hand, touch a heart. Before you can get real cooperation from others you must connect with them.

Focus more on integrity than on image.

The story is told of a newly promoted general. He was setting up his office and he wanted everyone to know that he was a very strict, no-nonsense person. Someone knocked on his door and when he peered outside he could see a lowly private at the door.

He quickly got to his desk, took up his phone and with the phone in his hand he shouted to the private to come in.

After the private came in the general started barking others to the imaginary person at the end of the line.

After his imaginary conversation he finally put down the phone and asked the private, “What can I do for you?”

The lowly private pointed to the phone on the general’s desk and told him that he was there to connect the phone.

Can you imagine the embarrassment of the poor general? The lowly private he was trying to impress knew all along that he was speaking into a disconnected phone that was not hooked up.

There are many people like this general who are more interested in projecting image than in projecting integrity. Integrity is about who you really are. Image is what you want others to think about you.

Listen and project integrity.

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