Having held leadership positions most of my life, as well as training other business owners on management and leadership, I have found some of the key elements in this responsibility:
1.) Goals – These need to be completely clarified and communicated and large enough to attract attention, as well as move the group forward into the future. If these are mediocre, you will then have mediocre achievements. I have also found that you need to push your teammates a bit beyond what they think they can do, not so much that they cave in, but having enough faith and trust and value in them that you know they can do it! When they do, they feel great!
2.) Rules – You have to have established rules of the game; rules that WORK, not rules that simply stop action. They must be easily followed; they have to be made known and the penalties for violating them need to be made very clear AND carried out, as this sets the example that the rules have power. I have found sometimes that it is the rules themselves that are at fault and if you are the originator, another aspect of true leadership is the ability to be humble and correct your ways, especially when pointed out by one of your subordinates.
3.) Direction – You must be able to get people to do their jobs and validate them when they do.
4.) Protection – Protect those that are highly productive from the whims and hardships that do come about. At the same time, do not allow the group to become “infected” with someone that is not productive, who is harming others with their actions. However, in this category I have seen staff handled incorrectly, who were not productive and who were a bit destructive. What was actually missing was that they did not really know their jobs! They were not trained or not trained enough to hold their job and do well. They had a hard time working with others. Always try training first! People have value. Find that value and help them exploit it!
5.) Games – Creating actions that can be accomplished and having a reward at the end is a great thing for any group.
6.) Initiative – Demand this from yourself and those around you.
7.) Efficiency – Test your staff on their ability to evaluate the importances of their duties. You will be surprised at how much time and money gets wasted on trivial tasks.
8.) Seriousness – Boy, get rid of this! The best staff members I have seen are so flippant, so care-free, yet responsible, that their non-serious attitude alone carries the group through hard times.
9.) Listen – This has to be one of the most important skills. In addition, it is also important to have the ability to stop the recurrence of wasted time and properly end a non-important communication in such a way that it does not invalidate another for what they’re trying to say.
10.) Plan – The steps for achievement must be fully studied and laid out in sequence so that they can be done, leading to goal attainment.
11.) Fun – Well, if it is not fun, what’s the point?!