Leaders need to behave in the way they want their employees to behave, and to continually ensure they have what they need to do that.
Here are some other ways to practice true leadership:
1. Pull the rope.
I love the image of a “leader” versus a “boss” during a tug of war. The leader is at the end of the rope, pulling along with his team. A boss is yelling at everyone else to pull the rope harder.
In a study highlighted by the Harvard Business Review, 38 percent of global leaders polled said that a good leader cultivates a feeling of failure and success as a team. That’s the difference between a “boss” and a “leader.” Leadership is about doing the job, not just telling others how to do it.
If you want your people to work hard, work hard yourself. Whatever you expect of your team, take it on yourself and set the example. Never stop pulling the rope.
- Be the provider.
A true leader supports the team with time, energy, thought and actual physical support. Whatever needs to happen to keep up with your people, provide: additional meeting opportunities, Q&A sessions, informal happy hours — whatever it is. Be the support system for your team’s success.
Become a “personal trainer.”
Just as a great personal trainer gets more from clients than those clients may have expected of themselves, a true leader does the same. Never hire or fire based on experience because things change too fast. Instead, see yourself as a coach for your team.
We hired someone out of a retail store background who was smart but had no experience in marketing, but she quickly became a top-notch Facebook advertising manager, grew a team of Facebook advertisers and then became our VP of operations, running a team of 80 people. This took her just three years.
We got her there by hiring for attitude instead of experience. Then we sat with her for months, basically having her work hand in hand with a trainer. In the early days, we mentored her in tactics, and today we continue to teach her what we’re learning so she can take on more responsibility.
True leadership is about helping employees become the best people they can be. You do that by setting the example, doing the work and training others to come along with you — beside you.