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You’re in Charge Now.

When I was about 11 years old, the oldest of four children, I wrote a letter to my parents telling them all the things that I would do when I became a parent. I would make the younger children behave. I would not let them have privileges until they did their chores. I would spank them if they did not obey my instructions. You get the picture. One day, I would be in charge – then things would be different.

What about your bosses – have you ever written them an anonymous letter? Have you told them all the things that you would do if you were in charge? Because one day you will be in charge – then things will be different…

How’s that going for you? Are things different now that you are in charge? 

Unfortunately, when we become the boss, we usually forget what it is like to be a follower. Instead, we focus on our own achievement – and our new-found power. Finally, we can lead the way we want to. We can be the authority figure and the people will have to do what we say.

This is just as ridiculous as my letter to my parents. Don’t expect the kids to respond well!

When you become the leader, the people look to you for four important things:

  • Vision – provide a clear picture of where you are taking the organization
  • Talent – select, develop, and coach the people to help them deliver their best work
  • Culture – create a work environment that brings out the very best in the people
  • Results – hold the team accountable to delivering performance results

These are the competencies of a leader who serves – and a team who performs.

“The glory of life is to give, not to be given, to love, not to be loved, to serve, not to be served.”

Sarah Ida Shaw, Founder of Tri Delta sorority, 1888

Often, I am asked, what are the most important traits of the extraordinary leader?  This weekend I came across this quote in an invitation to a charitable event – and it answered this very question. What are the traits of an extraordinary leader? They will be . . .

A leader who GIVES:  The leader gives the people clear direction, a well-understood picture of the future destination. The vivid description includes the specific metrics that will define success, the specific change that must occur, and the specific work plan that will deliver the outcome.

A leader who LOVES:  Business peple dislike this term “love” because they think that love is only a feeling. But as Joel Manby wrote in the book Love Works, “Love is an action verb.” Love in the workplace is a leader who cares for the team by spending time coaching and developing the people. The leader loves the people enough to create a place of challenge, encouragement and growth. The leader brings out a person’s best talents and puts them to work in just the right place.

A leader who SERVES: Contrary to popular opinion, serving others well includes holding them accountable for results. Teams cannot thrive if one team member does not perform. The leader gives candid feedback and constructive counsel to get to the results required. And if the person or team can’t deliver, the leader serves the organization well by making necessary changes.

If you are a leader who gives, loves and serves the people – you will lead your team to top performance.

You are in charge now.  What would the people say?




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