We’ve been talking about “leadership in crisis” over the past number of weeks, and this morning, I thought it would be a good time to simply remind you of simple truths for every leader that we tend to forget.
My lawn mower recently quit running. It’s not that old, but it frustrated me because it has been very reliable, and I don’t like having a tool in my garage that I can’t count on. I had a small window of time so I decided to quickly mow my lawn. The mower wouldn’t start, so I moved into “frustration” mode. I started taking things apart, I pulled on the start cable harder, I may have even kicked the mower a couple of times.
Finally, I went to a local lawn mower shop and told him about my mower, and he simply said, “95% of mower issues have to do with fuel. Look at that, and the mower will start”.
I went home, and instead of attacking my mower, I simply drained the gas out of it, cleaned the tank and the fuel filter, put new gasoline in it, and the mower started right up. Simple. It’s run well ever since.
The mechanic calmly pointed me to some simple things that I knew, but in my frustration, I tried everything else but address the most common problem.
Sometimes we’re like that in leadership.
Something happens, we have a conflict, and we dive into “solution mode” or “conflict mode” and we forget some basic truths that will guide us to solution. We forget the things we’ve learned and we try to “fix things” without learning from our past experience.
We need to remember the basics, just as I did with the lawn mower.
Mike Myatt with N2growth defines these really well as he reminds leaders of 5 basic things that we shouldn’t forget.
#1) Leaders Come in Different Flavors
There are many different types of leaders, and you will likely encounter all of them over the course of time.
#2) Leadership is a Process or Journey of Becoming
Although certain people are clearly born with innate leadership qualities, without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their full potential. It is through daily interactions with people who you are provided with the greatest opportunity to observe and practice leadership.
#3) Leadership Starts with You
The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply them to your own life through leading by personal example.
#4) Leadership is Shared
Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a shared responsibility among members of a collective group.
#5) Leadership Styles Depend on the Situation
One-size fits all leadership styles are simply disasters in the making. Leadership practices, while remaining authentic, must be tailored to individuals, groups, culture, beliefs, value systems, form of government, socioeconomic status, and other demographic variables.
While these 5 things that Myatt shares are “basics”, if you remember them it will help you to navigate leadership in a new way today. Don’t forget these truths. Don’t forget the lessons you learned when you finally realized these truths.
Don’t forget the basics.