Leader First

At a recent speaking engagement, someone asked about how to help one of their team members fully embrace their role as a leader. The “leader” in question, was focused almost exclusively on his functional responsibility. I’ve encountered this scenario countless times over the years – a person in a leadership role sees themselves as a functional manager first – they see themselves as an accountant, a lawyer, a minister to children, or whatever.

To these men and women, leadership may be part of their role, but it is certainly not primary. This is a huge mistake. If you’re in a position of leadership, you must be a leader first. What does it mean to be a leader first? Here are a few things for you to consider…

You must be concerned about the future

You are responsible for the engagement level of your team members

You must always be scouting for talent

You need to be keenly aware of opportunities to do things differently

You want to be sure to offer encouragement at every opportunity

You need to challenge people to do their best work

You must identify and close skill gaps on your team

You must help the team identify what a win looks like

You need to be sure the team’s scorecard is clear

You must be vulnerable and transparent with your team

You will be the champion for building community among your team

You need to establish the values that will drive the behaviors of your group

You must continually sharpen your leadership skills

You must be concerned with team dynamics

You must be focused on helping others grow

You need to see your role as servant to the team

Regardless of the discipline you work in, people need to be well led. This rarely happens if the point leader doesn’t embrace his or her role as leader first. If you are in a leadership position – lead with all diligence![GLS_Shield]
Here’s a link to a FREE leadership assessment. You may want to complete the assessment yourself and then use it to get 360 feedback from those in your organization.

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10 years ago

Mark -- I love your blog and look forward to having it in my Inbox. I was scrolling down this list and feeling pretty good, but then the list kept going and going. Sixteen things! They all sound good and right, but perhaps in a future post, but it's tough to hold onto sixteen things at once. In a future post, would you consider grouping these into a few themes, or pruning the list to something I can post on my monitor, or tattoo on my forearm for easy access? Thanks. Keep up YOUR great service to all of us!
One other quick request: you guys do a fantastic job with franchising. We are looking at a similar approach and I'd LOVE to hear a few thoughts on how to structure successful franchising arrangements, or ways to multiply/replicate one's organization. Blessings brother,


10 years ago

Thanks Cameron! The answer to your question is: Great Leaders Serve. I've written another post on this... 5 Strategic Ways Great Leaders Serve http://www.greatleadersserve.com/5-strategic-ways-great-leaders-serve/ I hope that helps. Regarding franchising, all our restaurants are corporately owned and locally operated. I'll see if I can write a post on that sometime soon. Thanks again for joining the conversation!


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