I recently attended the Simon Sinek Leadership Forum which focused on growing your leadership capabilities and employee engagement across your organisation. If you are unfamiliar with Simon Sinek, is described as “a leadership guru and a visionary thinker” who teaches leaders and organisations how to inspire their people. There were many great insights throughout the day, but I have selected my top three, which you can use immediately to improve your leadership every day.
“Leaders are in charge of creating a safe environment.”
If you are leading people at any level in an organisation, then you are responsible for creating a circle of safety for your team.
What does that mean? Firstly, let us agree you cannot control your external environment, but you can control the culture you create within your team. A circle of safety means that someone can come to you and say “I screwed up” or “I need your help”.
When you get this right, the people who benefit from this culture (apart from those in the circle of safety) are customers and the company. Why? Because when you feel safe in your organisation, you focus all your energy on doing your job well and helping those around you.
The lesson? Don’t focus so much on getting the right people on the bus, instead, concentrate on creating the right bus.
“Trust, and co-operation are feelings, not instructions.”
Once you have established a circle of safety, people will start to trust you and cooperate with each other. A manager can order people to work together, but that does not mean they will trust each other.
If you ever witness how a high-performing team works, there is a level of trust and cooperation that propels them to go harder. You can take the leader out of this environment, and the team will still perform because they have built a level of trust and cooperation between each other.
As humans, we have survived by using our ability to trust and cooperate. We seek this feeling every day, and that need does not stop when we come to work.
“Leadership is a choice.”
I have had the honour of working with amazing leaders, and also some I would like to forget. A student of leadership views leaders on their merits and chooses to take on some of their leader’s behaviours (good or bad). Leadership becomes harder when you are working under a poor manager. It is then you need to make a choice, to be the leader you work for or to be the leader you wish you had.
Early in my career when I worked in a top four bank, our team were in a business unit that was losing money. It seemed nothing we did could turn it around. Instead, of giving up, my leader turned to me and said: “I will continue to believe in you even if you stop believing in yourself.”
Knowing that my leader had my back meant that I worked harder and smarter and as a team, we turned it around. To this day, I believe the results we achieved would not have occurred without him creating that safe environment and being the leader we all needed.
Remember, leadership is a skill and a skill that can be learned. However, it takes daily practice and displays, not words, to become a better leader.
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About The Author.
Rajiv is a Professional Coach who specialises in developing effective leaders. Get more insights straight to your inbox http://www.bareinc.com.au/blog