Leader Letters are monthly letters from the Maintex Leadership team. This month, Maintex President Linda Silverman discusses common sense leadership strategies.
Over the years I have given a lot of thought to the subject of leadership and the impact it has on an organization. These are some of my common sense beliefs about personal responsibility in leadership.
Treat others with kindness and respect
Leading a company is not about “being liked,” but rather about being authentic, honest, respected, and kind. You don’t have to personally like someone to be respectful. It is easy to treat people kindly. A simple “please and thank you” takes no extra time and goes a long way. The best way to communicate is to truly mean what you say, and say it with respect and kindness.
Being a genuine leader means that you care about others and how you treat them. Don’t only reserve respect for people who can offer you something. Everyone you interact deserves to be treated well. This is true regardless of someone’s status or their contributions to you and your goals.
A wise mentor once told me, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” It is not always easy, but genuine people respect other’s interests, differences, and opinions. They aren’t always focused on changing others, but rather, they try to understand and learn from viewpoints other than their own.
We all make mistakes and an effective leader will own up to it when they do. There is no place for “CYA” (i.e. "cover your... butt") behavior. A true leader will take responsibility for their actions, including their missteps. A heartfelt apology can go a long way as you work to correct misdeeds. None of us are perfect and we all make errors. How you handle those situations defines who you are as a person and as a leader.
Commitments are important. When you commit, hold yourself to your promises. It is frustrating when people make promises and appointments that they do not plan to keep, so do not offer to do something if you have no intention of following through.
Occasionally, life will get in the way and you may be unable to keep your prescheduled dates. This is understandable. However, in these situations, proactive communication and rescheduling are so important to maintaining strong, trusting relationships.
Be a team player
As leaders, we must remember that it is through others that we get things done and effect change. Your behavior as a leader is how you develop, encourage, and recognize your team members. By being accessible and fair, you are encouraging and modeling an effective work ethic.
Be willing to jump in and participate when your assistance is needed. Leading a team is about being a part of the team. As leaders, our ultimate goal is success, so actively support your team’s efforts and remember to celebrate and encourage them when success is achieved.
The Clean Up
As leaders, we are always interested in how to move our business forward. But the most effective leaders are kind, humble, trustworthy, and collaborative. They remember that it takes many people to make progress, so treating everyone with respect, humility, and support will make you a more effective leader and business person. You lose nothing by being kind. And that's just common sense.