I was in conversation with the head of one of my kids' schools recently, and of course, the conversation landed on leadership.
I said to him, "John Maxwell talks about the leadership lid. You are the lid on your organization's growth.
As soon as you stop growing, so will the teachers and, ultimately, the school. Keep growing. Your influence on the teachers directly impacts my son's life."
Today's final installment of this three-part series is all about us--the leader.
1. Lead by Example: The Power of Authenticity
As leaders, we are the compass of our teams. A compass shows us the way. Our authenticity sets the tone for trust to flourish. We must be genuine in our actions, transparent in our decisions, and consistent in our values.
When our team witnesses our unwavering commitment to honesty and integrity, they will be inspired to follow suit. Remember, authenticity is not just a trait; it's a culture that begins with us.
2. Empower Growth: Nurturing Through Constructive Feedback
A great leader is not just a director but a mentor and guide. We hold the responsibility to empower growth through constructive feedback. This means not shying away from pointing out areas of improvement but doing so in a way that uplifts and inspires.
By nurturing the potential within each team member, we create an atmosphere of trust where constructive criticism is seen as a tool for development, not a weapon for criticism.
3. Foster Collaboration: The Essence of Mutual Support
A team is a collective, a unit bound by a shared purpose. It's our responsibility to foster a culture of mutual support.
Encourage your team members to appreciate one another's strengths and to lend a helping hand when needed.
When the foundation of collaboration is solid, trust flourishes naturally. This environment is one where each member knows they are valued and their contributions matter.
Take it further: think beyond your team or department. Where can you influence the bond of trust with other departments?
4. Eliminate Toxicity: Guarding Against Destructive Leadership
The responsibility to cultivate trust also involves guarding against toxic leadership.
Toxic behavior erodes trust faster than any external factor. As leaders, we must identify and address any signs of favoritism, micromanagement, or lack of transparency. This is an act of intention; do it on purpose.
By eliminating toxicity, we create a space where trust can thrive and authentic praise can flow freely.
A phrase my youngest brother says to the rest of us regularly is, "You gotta earn it!".
Typically, he's referencing a traveling hat, the trophy for whoever shoots the biggest buck that year.
The curious thing is that whoever possesses the hat had to put in over a few dozen hours of prep to get a single shot that could be thrown off by swirling winds, a pencil-thin branch, or a wandering coyote.
Regardless of circumstances, that hat says you capitalized on the opportunity after all the prep.
Similarly, trust is not granted; it's earned.
Through authentic leadership, we pave the way for trust to flourish. Let's lead by example, empower growth, foster collaboration, and guard against toxicity. In doing so, we create an environment where our teams trust us and one another, and the whole organization is lifted together.
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