Hello friends and subscribers,
Leadership is a skill, an industry, and an attitude, but what it means to be a great leader is always changing.
20 years ago, leaders were (mostly) finance people who created big profits without much care about how. The stories of firing hundreds of people to maximize profits are true. That's what it meant to be a good, smart leader. But times have changed (for the better).
This email is a collection of short statements I believe define leadership now and in the future.
First and foremost, anyone can embody these maxims. Anybody can be a leader. t's just that business people convince you there's some special qualification few people possess.
In one way, they're right. There is something special about leadership. The wonderful thing is that everyone has that something special in them. And so do you.
Let's get into it.
Leaders aren't wrong to demand more from employers. They're wrong when they demand more than they're willing to do themselves.
There is no substitute for getting out in front and saying how it is. In the old days, they'd say "don't worry, everything will be okay" just to keep you around and working. Until the day they fire you suddenly. Again, times have changed.
The greatest leaders of all time are very clear, with everyone, where they stand. If you're doing great, leaders will let you know, and it's the same when you're doing poorly. Unspoken expectations create resentments. Speak your expectations, and help people rise to that level.
Leadership is more about managing people's mental states than their "workloads." Great leaders acknowledge that their mental state is the source of all their success and failure. They acknowledge the same in others and respect it.
Excitement, motivation, pride, integrity, respect → the best leaders create these sentiments in themselves and others, and channel that energy accordingly.
Every action is thought through years in advance. Standing up for yourself today sets the tone for tomorrow. Keeping a customer is always better than getting a new one. Keeping an employee happy is always better than having to replace one.
Never lose a customer + never lose an employee = victory.
People have to do what they love. I don't care if you're building a great company or working on a hobby. Happiness is key to life. Hating your work won't help you. Leaders love what they do, and position people to do what they love too.
Utility x Happiness = Sustainability. When happiness is negative, it's over. Keep it positive. Be a leader that makes people happy. Watch what happens.
The balance between these two forces determines a great leader. Too tough and you're a slave-driver. Too loving and people won't grow and develop. You're not running a gulag. You're not running a daycare. Tomorrow's great leaders will find this balance.
There's something special about people who just make things happen. They are men and women of action and they inspire the same in those around them. "Charisma" is a quality associated with doing what other people won't do.
As is leadership. Action is on the other side of fear, and while everyone feels fear, the great leaders of our time act on it.
Complacency is the enemy of leadership. The leader pushes all of us to be better versions of ourselves, nearly every day. Not with big words, but with actions that interrupt the regular patterns of life.
It's about timing and recognizing when it's time to go hard. Fight complacency. Be strategic with when you take it easy.
"Leadership" is as much a skill as it is a state of mind. Everyone has the potential to be a leader, but very few live up to this potential.
Why? Because it's easier not to lead.
There's more responsibility, greater consequences, and fear every day. People don't like that.
Leadership is about finding the potential in ourselves, in others, and unlocking that potential.
I'm not here to tell you to "go and be a leader." That's not my style.
My message is to pay attention to who you give your time and attention to, and if it's really worth it to call them a leader in your life.
Sometimes you don't have to lead everyone. And you don't have to let anyone lead you down the wrong path either.
Maybe, you're better off leading yourself, and that's it.
Thanks for reading.
All the best to you,