Leadershipping is hard. You try as you might to do and say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it fails miserably. That’s life. Mostly we try to be the best version of ourselves, and not f*ck up to bad!
We love rules. Rules are safe. If you follow them, mostly things work out. If you break them, mostly things don’t work out as well, but every so often, you’ll be just fine. I think the trick to breaking a rule and having things work out is if you still follow your moral compass when determining which rules you’ll break and which ones you won’t.
As a leader, we are both rule-maker and rule-follower. In my time as a leader here are some rules of leadership that I try to follow:
– Never expect an employee to care as much about the department/function/company and the job as you do, but if they do, show that respect.
– Starting a new project is awesome and the feeling is great, but surround yourself with finishers because that’s what really matters.
– No one wants to hear what’s wrong, they want to hear what’s your plan to fix it. Any idiot can tell you what’s wrong.
– Always be prepared for your largest customer to kick you to the curb. It likely won’t happen, but when it does you won’t panic and your team needs that more than anything at that moment.
– You’ll never fully get the full truth from someone who relies on you to get their check. It will be washed and wrapped, and that feedback will be as kind as possible. Unless they already have one foot out the door.
– Keep your expenses low. I don’t need a fourth kind of Kabucha in the office, but I do need that extra salesperson.
– You never have to talk every person in the room into your idea, just the person with the most influence. Before you open your mouth, understand who that person is.
– If “average” is the ceiling of someone working for you, you can live without them on your team.
– Don’t be concerned with overpaying for expert advice that you trust and count on.
– Ship it. You will never really perfect an idea or a project. Put it out in the wild and see what happens, then adjust. Too often we hold stuff until it’s too late because we don’t think it’s ready.
– It’s not your job to make someone who works for you happy. It is your job to help them make a happiness decision. Either they are mostly happy working in the job they have, or they need to go find out where they can be happy.
– Your job isn’t to be the best at whatever function to lead, it’s to put the best team together that will be the best at that function. Great leaders do two things exceptionally well. They recruit great talent onto their teams, and they knock down roadblocks to great performance.
Okay, share your favorite leadership rule in the comments below!