Filling your toolbox.
Posted on November 19, 2015
Growing up in the construction world, I have found that what makes a job easier is having the right tools. The other day I had to replace the battery in my car, and the tools that I had to do the job included a pair of pliers and a small hammer. The only thing that I was able to accomplish is frustration.
Please understand that my experience in construction and dealing with mechanical issues has given me the necessary knowledge of how to accomplish a simple task such as changing a battery. However, my knowledge is pretty much useless without the correct tools. Using pliers might have eventually gotten the job done but using a small pair of pliers designed for wire stripping is not ideal.
At one point during the ordeal with the battery, I said out loud “it does not matter how much you know if you don’t have the right tools.” This made me think about leadership.
There are many thoughts that I could have gone with leadership and tools, such as a leader needing to have the right team around them. Or I could have focused on the fact that understanding the need and having a goal is not enough. Either of these would have led to great discussions, but my thoughts went to the necessary tools needed to be a great leader. I begin to think about an article I read years ago describing the necessary skills or tools that every leader must have. That article led me to create an imaginary toolbox. As a leader, I always want to make sure I have the right tools to be successful in my role as a leader. I would like to provide you with that list; it is a list of the necessary tools that that you should keep in your “leadership toolbox.”
1. Honesty – Your team is a reflection of you, and if you make honesty and ethical behavior a core value, your team will follow your example.
2. The ability to communicate – Being able to relate clearly your vision to the team is necessary for success. Just because you understand in your head does not mean that you have communicated it to the team.
3. Ability to delegate – Learning the individual strengths of each of your team members and allowing them to use their strengths for the greater good of the team will keep everyone engaged and accomplish goals quicker.
4. Confidence – Your team will follow the emotions and visual cues that you portray. If you are not confident in your abilities, the team will not be either.
5. Commitment – Your commitment to the team and the task at hand will directly reflect the commitment of the team, both to you and to the task. If you are not committed as the leader, then save everyone’s time and give the role to someone that is committed.
6. Leadership requires a positive attitude – There will be many times where the team will face discouragement, or there will be failures. It is the leader that needs to maintain a positive attitude. If the leader has an attitude of failure than the team will follow suit.
7. Creativity is a great tool for you to have – Many times in leadership the answer will not be clear cut or obvious. It is in these times when the leader must be creative and think outside of the box. My favorite saying is “what if we?” When asking this question, allow for the most outrageous answers. Start with the absurd and narrow it down to reality.
8. The skill of Intuition – There is something to be said about trusting your gut. Intuition is when experience, knowledge, and awareness all merge at the same time. Great leaders know when just to trust their gut on a decision.
9. The tool of inspiration – There will be times when you will be faced with a team that just does not have the passion or desire to achieve the goal. You must be able to inspire the troops.
10. The key tool is the ability to do a self-examination and recognize when you lack any of the areas mentioned above. Many times we can easily spot the shortcomings of our team members. However when it comes to our faults, we fail to see the need for improvement.