To really grasp the principles of effective leadership that will lead to results, one primary lesson that many of those books and podcasts won't teach comes down to one short sentence:
Leadership is a heart matter. If the heart is not right, your leadership isn't going to be right.
The heart of a leader has to be focused on serving others first. This will reveal the leader's true intent. It is not a heart motivated by self-interest, status, position, or power. It's a heart that is driven by service and the overarching life philosophy of "How many lives can I impact for the better?"
Time for a tune-up?
To that end, there are things to being a good leader that just cannot be ignored. If you are too busy to put these practices into daily motion, it may be time for a leadership tune-up. Here's what I would recommend to get you running on all cylinders.
1. Be open to feedback
Many autocratic managers view feedback as a threat to their power, self-worth, and position, which explains why they are opposed to it and often react fearfully and defensively to feedback. Great leaders, on the other hand, view feedback as a gift to improve their leadership so they can serve others and their mission better. They value truth and honesty and diverse perspectives for bettering themselves and their businesses. Even when feedback is negative, it prompts an exercise in curious exploration to find out where things went wrong so that it doesn't happen again. This is setting your heart right.
2. Develop self-awareness
So many high-level managers get caught up in situational dramas in which they're typically the main character. Since toxic fear or insecurity and false pride operate in tandem to protect their self-interest, it hijacks their thinking and potential for healthy relationships. Great leaders don't react to people or situations, they respond to them by being quick to listen and understand. They apply self-awareness and curiosity to get varied perspectives and won't get riled up or let their emotions sabotage their thought process. They take a step back, assess what happened, and get clarity before their next move. Whatever that next move is, their integrity steps in to end a conflict, help others, and make things better.
3. Pump the fear out of the atmosphere
When fear, uncertainty, and lack of direction permeates the workplace, you begin to see fewer risks being taken and fewer problems being solved. Team members need to feel psychologically safe to be at their best. To create a safe environment for your employees, managers need to do what great leaders do consistently well: pump the fear out of the work environment. First, honor your team's voice by allowing them the space to present ideas and express objections. Second, invest in their success and regularly communicate that their development is a top priority. Finally, set high expectations for team members by giving feedback that ensures they know how valued and valuable they are.