There are three elements of good leadership that are consistent at every organizational level.
From team leader to CEO, when people are following you, your job is to:
- Cultivate and clarify your vision.
- Align others with that vision.
- Execute the vision and get the job done.
Everything a leader does falls under one of these three categories. The biggest challenge for most leaders is to remember that this is a never-ending process.
1. Good leadership requires constantly revising and refocusing your Vision.
A healthy organization is in constant change, and so, our vision is continually changing as well. We do have long-term goals that might seem to be chiseled in stone, but recessions happen, market conditions fluctuate, and we’re ambushed by the unexpected requiring us to alter our course and our vision. Because of these unforeseen circumstances, we must continually refocus and refine our vision, our goal, our destination–what we want to accomplish.
In order to keep a clear vision, you must continually redefine what your organization expects from you, and at the same time merge this with what is important to you, both professionally and personally.
Side note: If your organization’s expectations of you don’t line up with what is important to you, then it might be time to look for a position where you fit.
Take time to create a personal-professional mission statement. This is a blend of what’s expected of you by your organization and your own professional and personal values and vision.
A Mission Statement:
- Describes what you want now and how you will achieve your professional long-term goals.
- Is more focused on the present. It answers the questions of:
- “What do I do?” (For the organization)
- “How do I do it?”
- “Who do I do it for?”
- “What makes me different?”
- “What is the benefit?”
- Talks about the present leading to the future, and how you will get to where you want to be.
“My mission is to help project managers transform into impactful project leaders.”
A Good Mission statement:
- Is concise and motivating.
- Is easy to memorize and repeat.
- Is clear, engaging, realistic, and describes a bright future.
- States your intentions, summarizes your values, and demonstrates your commitment to living up to these values.
Your mission statement becomes your GPS. If you keep an eye on it you’ll know when you’re off course. It will also help you recalculate your path to reach your intended destination. Frequently refocusing on your mission will enable you to catch yourself a lot sooner when you veer off course.
How do you remind and realign yourself with your mission statement? What serves as your wake-up call or alarm to warn you when you’re getting into the weeds? A mission statement needs to be a practical working tool, so keep your mission statement current, and revise as needed.
- Good leadership requires constant realignment of self and of the team members.
Effective Leaders recognize goal and mission drift. They know that they and their team are constantly getting off course and that the act of self-alignment and aligning members of the team is just a part of the process. When driving down the interstate, one is constantly turning the steering wheel back and forth in small increments to maintain and re-establish alignment. It would be catastrophic to have your steering wheel seize up for even a few seconds. When driving, we make thousands of tiny adjustments in alignment in order to reach our ultimate destination.
The same is true for leadership. Alignment is constantly making small corrections to steer your team toward your vision.
- Good leadership requires constantly executing the vision
Effective Leaders are continuously engaged in the process of execution, helping their team get the job done. It also requires constantly providing a plan and continually analyzing that plan to ensure that the work remains on track. Finally, constant execution requires addressing problems (misalignment) in the moment and offering praise for even small accomplishments as they happen.
At Encore Life Skills, we believe that every employee should be encouraged to clarify their own vision, constantly engage in self-alignment, and have a clear understanding of what it takes to execute— to get the job done. In this way, everyone should be treated as if they are a leader, whether they are “CEO material,” or spend their career working on the front line.