Good leadership requires focus and passion. Whether at the top of the food chain or looking to get there, great leaders understand what they’re working for. Do you know your organization’s mission statement? Is it something you believe in? Focusing on the bigger picture of what you’re working toward allows you to be more selective in the work you do and to be more decisive in following clear goals. Great leaders focus on the mission and represent it even when people aren’t looking.
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Seems simple, right? We’ve all worked with people who seem easy to blame for our mood or actions, but at the end of the day what matters is how YOU treat others. Though we may not agree with everyone’s opinion, leaders treat others with respect, kindness, and honesty. Being good to others doesn’t mean you’re a pushover. It means you can set the tone and be the change you want to see in others.
I’ve heard from many leaders that you should hire people who are more skilled than you. This advice also applies to the people we surround ourselves with each day. There are four things that I prioritize in my life: faith, family, health, and work. I have a person I look to in each bucket for guidance on a regular basis. If I want to be a better runner, I find a buddy who is faster than me and run with them. If I want to be a better leader, I find someone who people effortlessly follow and talk to them about their skills. Good leaders build these kinds of relationships and accept guidance from others to keep improving.
I am a habitual early riser, early to meetings. I live by lists and deadlines. Details aside, a good leader has a destination they’re working toward. This tip goes back to the first tip: “Live the mission.” Your job as a leader is to provide a clear path that your team can follow while communicating how the goals you’ve set contribute to the bigger picture. You’re more likely to get buy in from others if you not only have vision but also a prepared plan.
Sometimes, leaders are thrown into situations that make them uncomfortable. When this happens, instead of freaking out, take a breath, stand up straight and smile. When you act in control, you feel in control. If you have the time, it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself before a networking event or business dinner with a few talking points or a list of people you would like to meet.
And don’t underestimate the importance of dress. In this day and age, many disregard the role of proper dress in a business environment. Dressing the part is important and can be empowering, too, when going into a new setting.
All leaders are different. There is no “right way” to lead. But there is a sincere way to lead. Be true to yourself without compromising your values, and you’ll find the leadership style that works for you.
Kate Reed is the Alumni Director of Leadership West Virginia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing leaders from all over the state to move West Virginia forward. The organization is in its 25th year and now has over 1,200 graduates including top-level executives; local, state and federal lawmakers and leading innovators. Kate is the incoming Board Chair of Generation WV. Aside from traveling the state, Kate is a outdoor enthusiast, distance runner, and overall adventure seeker with aspirations to run a 100-miler ultramarathon in the future.
You can follow her on Instagram @katereed23.
Like party favors, but for your brain. Enjoy these weekly goodies including viral videos, interesting articles, curated playlists, and more!
- LISTEN: The second UpThink playlist curated by Kate Reed.
** Track #5 is NSFW and not intended for little ears
- WATCH: Daydreaming about that holiday feast from your desk? Us too!
- WATCH: Work to live, don’t live to work y’all.
The team at Generation West Virginia wishes you a very happy holiday and an awesome New Year. We’ll be taking a break for the holidays, but UpThink will return in early 2017! Stay tuned.