We live in a time when the standards of behavior expected in our leaders has been eroding, when our tolerance for human foible is more pronounced than our expectation for the execution of leadership duty with honor, intelligence and sensibility.
To lead is not easy and those who choose this path need to have a visceral understanding and respect for this fact. It requires one to have wisdom and insight in equal measure about themselves as well as about the issues they face and for those whom they serve. And make no mistake, whether elected, promoted or placed into leadership, the role is about service to others, not to oneself nor to one’s own ideas. This understanding and pledge of service is the first thing we must always expect from our leaders.
In a perfect world, leaders would hold themselves accountable to a set of admirable measures of behavior for themselves and others that bring out the best in humankind. But we do not live in a perfect world, nor are there any perfect people, so far as I know.
This means that we will falter. Leaders themselves will on occasion fail to set or meet high enough standards for themselves and in failing to do so will lower the bar for those around them and in particular, those younger and very impressionable future leaders who are always watching.
And equally so, those who follow will sometimes fail to hold their leaders accountable. We will become fatigued with having and holding our moral ground. We will get distracted by life, by death, by being human.
I believe that people are the most complex technology in the world and so in my coaching practice I like to keep tools and guidelines as simple as possible. With that in mind, here are 10 things we must always expect and require from our leaders:
- Tell the truth, always.
- Be respectful and kind and keep your word to everyone.
- Be humble, especially when you have the right to feel proud of yourself.
- Don’t let fear of failure stop you, ever.
- Be genuinely curious, ask questions that help people find new ways to think and lead from that state of mind, not from judgement or blame.
- Hold yourself and others accountable for actions and results.
- Convert failures into productive insights and actions quickly.
- Daily ask yourself, “What am I not asking, seeing or doing?”
- Tend to your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing regularly to be at your best and ready for any opportunity or challenge.
- Never forget that you, your organization, family, community, the environment and world are interconnected. Act accordingly.
Copyright 2018. Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting. All Rights Reserved