Christopher Ayoub, President, RealManage
In my last blog, we discussed the necessity of tying the employees we lead into the mission of our organization and how that has a direct correlation to their morale and tenure. Leaders must understand that leadership is not one dimensional, but in actuality, 360 degrees.Many believe that leadership is only motivating team members to achieve a common objective.
This could not be further from the truth. As part of the 360 degrees of leadership model, I will discuss leading up, sideways, down and yes, yourself.
I have been discussing this leadership model for over 15-years and often get the response: “How can I possibly lead up? Isn’t that my leader?” Yes, of course it is your leader; however, the example you set as a leader will have a positive or negative impact on your superiors. I can’t count the number of times I have learned from a team-member or been pushed toward excellence by way of their incredible example. I also value feedback from my direct reports and direct lines of communication. I will never know what is going on layers below if my leaders are not communicating directly to me and bringing me issues with possible solutions.
One of the toughest forms of leadership is peer leadership (leading sideways). Often times, people view their peers as competition for a promotion or pay raise. We have all felt that way from time to time, but that is the absolute wrong way to look it. We should communicate with our peers on lessons learned and best practices. If every department or team is clicking on all cylinders and learning from one another, then the organization will benefit greatly. Don’t we want our company to excel? One of my favorite questions to ask in an interview for a key leadership position is “What do you value more? Individual accolades or group accolades?” A person who values individual accolades more than team accolades does not know how to lead sideways. A true leader will encourage their peers and lead by example. A bad leader will discourage their peers, hoard information and will ultimately destroy the cohesion of a group.
The next component is one most are familiar with and that is leading down. Leadership by example still serves as the most powerful form. Feedback to our staff is extremely important. Never underestimate the power of praising publicly and providing constructive criticism privately. Constructive is the key word here as criticizing in itself serves no positive purpose. We all know that boss we once had that said “this is terrible” in front of everyone. People want to grow and sometimes that requires bringing them down and lifting them back up. It is never bringing them down and leaving them there. Additionally, leaders must communicate to their staff and relate how their job and results ties into the overall organization consistently. This ties back into my last blog on morale equals mission. People are programmed to want to feel like they are living a purposeful life and are having a positive impact on something much larger than themselves.
The often most neglected component of this leadership model is leading yourself. If you are like me, you are probably that A-type personality who is up at 5am to do emails, gets sidetracked and misses your work out, then has to get ready and rush to work. You start with an agenda for the day until the next fire comes in and takes you off course. After hours of that, you realize it’s 2pm and you have not eaten lunch, so you eat something quick and then try to get caught up before leaving for the day. On the way home, you fight backed up traffic which normally takes 15 minutes but ends up being an hour. When you finally get home, you get bombarded by your kids, scarf down dinner, put the kids to sleep, attempt to relax for a few minutes and then pick up your phone to notice you already have 20 unread emails. Then you fall asleep and do it all over again. Exhausting. At no point in time did you lead yourself. We can’t ask our teams to be 100% if we are not 100% ourselves. We must take the time to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.
My hope is that a few people reading this will have an “ah-hah” moment and take steps to become a more balanced leader. The balanced leader will always outperform the one-dimensional leader in the long run. Leading people is not a sprint, but indeed a marathon.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to publishing my next blog outlining my sixth point on leadership!
Mr. Ayoub is a distinguished combat veteran and executive with a robust track record of excellence. He serves as the President for RealManage. Please click the following link to read Mr. Ayoub’s biography.
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