What Defines Great Leaders

Leadership is a complex reality that few people ever understand. I think the primary thing that people equate to leadership is results. Results seem to be the popular measure of great leaders. But, I would challenge that to the point of saying it’s a façade. Real leaders truly are not defined by results and are not responsible for the results. Leaders are not responsible for results. In fact, most true leaders never have a direct impact on the results. Results rest in the hands of the people, the team and the organization as a whole.

So what are leaders responsible for? And, what makes a great leader? 

Let’s start to answer that by first defining what a leader is responsible for. There is one thing that makes a direct impact on the people and the results. There is one thing that determines if your people and team will reach their greatest potential. That one thing is culture. Leaders are solely responsible for creating a great culture! It is culture that will determine the success or failure of a leader. Great culture will unleash the greatest potential in each person in your organization. 

So what creates a great culture? Simple… Relationships. Relationships are the “secret sauce” of any great organization. When your people find out you care, you pay attention to them and you’re genuinely interested in their well-being they will feel secure, loyal and passionate about the organization. Members, employees and volunteers will always give their best when they know you care more about relationships than results. 

When your team experiences these things, you will experience mush less “churn” in your organization. Meaning you will have far less turn over in people. That one thing alone will unleash the potential in your organization. Why? Because the best results come from consistency. Consistency will improve your “customers” experience and interaction with your organization. When your people are consistently present and consistently passionate about your organization your “customers” will notice. That will ultimately generate the results leaders have long believed they are responsible for creating. 

So what makes a great leader? A great leader is someone who makes the hardest transition of all. Great leaders are no longer the people who are “good at their job” but they are the people who now give hope, grace and vision to their team. 

Your greatest product as a leader is not results it is people! 

Great leaders love people, create culture that unleashes their people’s potential and celebrates the wins of others! 

So, as leaders, we would all do well to take a step back and determine if we are good leaders or just people who are good at our jobs!

Six Enemies of Change

Change is a crucial part of life. Change is the only constant we will ever truly know. But, change comes with discomfort. Change is not readily accepted or celebrated. And, change can create conflict and tension. 

As leaders it is important that we understand change, embrace change and work with change to succeed in our journey. 

Here are six enemies of change that can halt or even destroy growth in your organization. 

1. Pride. Pride tends to hold the belief that one way is the best way. Pride can come from anywhere. It can come from us as leaders believing we know best. Pride can come from our team who believes they have the best answers. Overcoming pride means letting go of control and being willing to listen and learn. 

2. Fear. Fear can drive most any aspect of life. But, fear most often comes from a negative emotion and response, and the results tend to be negative as well. When fear drives us, it becomes a hinderance to growth and strength. Face your fears head on, with honest and transparent understanding. 

3. Distrust. You cannot lead through and support your organization through changes without trust. You need trust with your team, your followers and your audience. This requires time, patience and clear communication. Without trust, you will almost never be able to move forward. 

4. Comparison. This is a deadly trap. You will absolutely waste your potential if you are pursuing someone else's dream or vision. And, your success and the success of others will always be different. Comparison is a distraction and drains the necessary energy needed to effectively lead change. 

5. Ignorance. This should be an obvious enemy of change, but it usually is not. If you deal with pride, ignorance is it's closest companion. If you assume your way is best, you will often forego the counsel and wisdom of others. Learn to listen, take time to read and always be willing to admit weakness or failure. 

6. Apathy. This is simply a nice way of saying laziness. This usually happens when a leader assumes that things will never change because "that's the way it's always been done". Nothing will kill the morale and momentum of your team and your organization than apathy. You have to lead change with boldness and energy! 

Have you experienced any of these enemies of change? Are you still wrestling with them right now? What steps will you take to overcome these enemies of change?