Here are 9 responsibilities of a leader.
- Caring: No one wants to follow a leader who doesn’t care about them personally. They don’t want to follow someone who doesn’t care about something that creates meaning and purpose and mission. It’s your job to care so deeply that your passion spills over and literally creates followers.
- Listening: Leaders spend time listening. Listening is one of the ways that you learn. You constantly take in new ideas and new information so that you can improve your own performance, and the performance of the organization and the people you lead. Great leaders know that they don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and seek them from outside themselves.
- Reading: Leaders read. Leaders read about the type of organizations they run. They read about leading and about other leaders. They read the news, nonfiction, and fiction. They synthesize all they read, finding connections and themes that they can use to become better, more effective leaders. You need to surround yourself with a stack of books, magazines, and papers.
- Thinking: Leaders spend time thinking. They literally make time to think. Even if it means they have to unplug and go offsite to have the time they need to do nothing other than engage in an internal dialogue with themselves, asking themselves questions and pondering the answers. Thinking is some of the most difficult work a leader will ever do.
- Helping Others Grow: Leaders help others grow. You help others find something inside themselves that they didn’t know was hidden there. Great leaders help guide the people they lead to their best performance, and they challenge them to stretch beyond anything they believed possible. You have to see something inside the people you lead and help them become that.
- Shaping Values: Shaping values is what allows the leader to share what is important, what matters, and what is necessary for the people and the organization they lead to live its purpose. Find and tell stories to bring your values to life. Find a way to catch people doing things right and shine a light on them so that they can serve as an example to others. And protect the positive culture you build from anything that might damage or destroy it.
- Envisioning: A leader must provide a vision of the future. You have to know where you are taking those that follow you, and where your organization is going. That future needs to be bigger, better, and brighter. It has to provide meaning and purpose. Your vision has to compel others to act and inspire them to do whatever is necessary to bring it to life.
- Persuading: Results are achieved by persuading others to change, to do things different, to grow. Good leaders know that they can’t make anyone do anything. They know that the most powerful tool for change isn’t demanding it but persuading people to make the necessary changes. Your formal authority is nothing compared to your moral authority and your ability to persuade others.
- Deciding: Leaders make decisions. You can’t afford to wait passively as events unfold around you, paralyzed by fear, and failing to act. You will get some big decisions wrong. You will only get some of the big decisions you are charged with making right. You will always have to make adjustments. Come what may, you have to make decisions.
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