Lead Like You Mean It by Dave Jochum In Business Solutions

Dave Jochum

Published: Feb. 16, 2015, 4:32 p.m.
Updated: Feb. 16, 2015, 4:32 p.m.

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Leadership is defined different ways by different people. My favorite definition of leadership is that Leadership is Influence. But if we stop there, we may miss the point of leadership entirely. How are you influencing others? To what end do you wish to influence them? What is the point of influencing if there is no point to the influence?

For me, leadership is not leadership unless something is being accomplished. Are you moving forward? Are you making a difference? Is your organization growing? Are you able to make an ever-increasing impact on your community?

To answer these questions in the affirmative, you’ve got to lead like you mean it. Have you ever encountered a leader who was half-hearted in their leadership? Maybe you’ve even gone through a period where you were not as enthusiastic as a leader needs to be to motivate her people. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but at some point a good leader will recognize the slump and take action to get back in the game of leading well.

If you find that you are in that slump and not leading with passion, here are some quick reminders for you:

Revisit the Vision – What was the vision that fueled your passion? Maybe you need a new or revised vision. Whatever the case, take the necessary time to regain some focus on the big picture. I recently wrote an article on vision for my blog that you might want to check out.

Work Hard & Smart – While I do believe that leadership is influence, I also believe that leadership takes work. It takes working hard and working smart.

Some people think that working hard means being busy. Others compare themselves to people who are not accomplishing anything and feel good about the little bit they are doing. Here’s a quote I recently read by Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban that emphasizes the importance of hard work – "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.” That seems like a decent rule of thumb because in reality, if you don’t stay focused on building your team and organization, you could easily lose even that which you’ve gained.

While hard work is critical, it’s not a substitute for smart work. If you feel overwhelmed and overworked, you probably are. It’s important that you evaluate your time and priorities to be sure you are working hard on the right things (that’s working smart!).

Be Intentional & Strategic – Too many leaders coast. They think that because their organization has been around for a long time, it will continue to exist. This is important so listen up: There are NO guaranties! If you want to lead like you mean it, you must be intentional about what you are doing. Being intentional involves having a workable strategy. It’s the "how to” of the vision. Identify the steps, write them down, then communicate with the entire team. This leads to the final point.

Be Accountable – This means that your team should be able to be accountable to one another. That includes you being accountable to them. Back to the point above, when you are communicating an important event or activity to the team, understand that you will most likely have to communicate with the team multiple times. Don’t think that you can say something one time and then get angry six months later when the thing you said to do hasn’t happened. By your six months of silence, you have communicated that what you said you wanted done is not really that important to you. So don’t get mad at the team for not doing it. Help the accountability process by checking periodically on the progress. This gives the team the message that you care about this thing happening.

In the end, the leader is responsible. Responsible to the team. Responsible to the organization. Responsible to make something happen. Responsible to lead change. As my friend and mentor, John Maxwell likes to say, "Everything rises and falls on leadership.” As a leader, you have the job of rallying the players and moving the ball. If you feel that you’ve lost your way, being proactive about these four things above will get you well on your way to leading like you mean it once again.