Everyday Leadership | Leadership Everyday
Everyday Leadership – the practice of actions and words that inspire others to do the right thing.
There’s a common refrain that “everyone is in sales.” The belief is that no matter what you do you are selling something. Here’s another idea – everyone is in leadership. The belief here is that no matter what you do, you should be practicing the actions and words that inspire others to do the right thing. When you inspire others you are providing leadership – good things will follow.
Not everyone strives for a true leadership role, but everyone can exhibit actions and words that convey leadership. While this list is not inclusive of everything that you can do it does give you an idea of where to start. Imagine a workplace where everyone practiced this behavior – now start building the culture.
Here’s five areas to start with:
Little things –
Pick up – pick up after yourself and others – this means pick up litter and pick up the pace – don’t leave things laying around. Years ago, I saw the President of a company picking up paper towels off the bathroom floor. By setting this example everyone began picking up paper towels and other objects – soon the office was always clean. Pick up the pace – keep going, don’t quit, and don’t make excuses.
Clean up – clean up messes. Clean up the coffee you spilled in the lunch room and clean up your paperwork mess before you hand it off to the next person. Go to your order processing group and ask them how they want to paperwork to come in. For salespeople this can be challenging, but you will find that when you turn in clean paperwork your projects magically go through first.
Show up – show up for meetings (on time), show up for customer appointments, and show up ready to get busy. Be a leader by being on time. Anticipate slow traffic by leaving early – think ahead. You are showing respect to others when you are on time and participating.
Big things –
Mentor – help others learn and get better. No one wakes up in the morning and suddenly knows how to use a new program or follow a new process. Someone needs to show them how it’s done. Be a leader, show them – inspire others to mentor.
Encourage – praising people at work is becoming a lost art. If you want to spark a conversation within any organization, ask people how often they receive praise or encouragement. The big thing to remember here is to offer sincere praise – people see through phony acknowledgements, make your encouragements about real accomplishments. Be specific with your praise and encouragement, “Jessica, I saw the positive customer survey after your last project, that was fantastic. Your leadership is inspiring the other teams to perform at a higher standard.”
Volunteer – at work and in your community. Set an example by helping others. Here’s the magic of giving – “you always receive less than you give”. By this I mean that if you give nothing you will get even less back.
Solve Problems –
Identify – Solve – Show – help others identify and solve problems. One of the main aspects of leadership is the ability to solve problems and show people how to work through the process so they can do it for themselves next time.
Leave it better than you found it – when joining work groups or projects leave what you are working on better than you found it. Provide positive outcomes.
With Customers –
Be a guide – walk through the process with them. Explain each step and milestones so that they fully understand what will happen next. When you are listening to their concerns and explaining the process you are providing value. Remember the old adage – customers don’t want to be sold they want to know how to buy.
Reduce Risk – in addition to guiding customers through the process provide references and escalation contacts within your company just in case something happens.
Transparent and Honest – should not even be necessary to include. Tell your customer the good and bad stuff that may happen once they sign.
When Networking –
Straight forward introductions – introduce yourself with in honest straight forward way. Don’t introduce yourself with a pretentious ramble hoping to garner a thoughtful response and further questions. Compare these two introductions and see which person you would rather network with. Intro #1: “Hi, I help companies realize strategic growth by empowering initiatives of corporate synergies through cloud networking”. Intro #2: “Hi, over the last ten years I have guided companies through the process of using the cloud to improve customer relations.” Introduce yourself simply and honestly with a statement that conveys what you do and why it’s relevant.
Ask questions about them – after your honest introduction shift the conversation to them. People have a better memory of you when they do all the talking. For most people their favorite subject is themselves – so, don’t be most people, let the other person do the talking.
Part three is the most important part – ask them how you can refer customers to them. The first rule of networking is to give before you receive. You will be surprised with how many referrals you receive when you give people a referral first.
Start your path to everyday leadership by being a leader every day. Reach out to Hastings Growth Team for a discussion on leadership. We provide one-on-one coaching for potential and new leaders. HGT can conduct an in-house workshop for your team to sharpen a variety of leadership skills.