By Abhi Golhar, nationally syndicated radio host and entrepreneurial steamroller.
Leadership has evolved to encompass a new set of skills in the modern era. Are you leading your team in a way that makes sense for 2018? In a digital era, there are distractions around every corner. You are competing for attention with celebrities on the internet at every moment of every day. It's important to update your tactics if you want to stay productive as a leader in this new environment.
This list will give you the updated skills and tools you need to be a top performing leader in 2018.
Take Care of Yourself First
You must be inspired before you can inspire and lead other people. A leader who is unhappy or ineffective will only attract other similarly troubled people to join their group. A happy and productive leader, on the other hand, can attract the best candidates to join their team. Nobody is perfect, so you won't have to strive for an unreasonable standard of excellence. You only have to be as healthy and wise as any decent person can be. If you feel pretty good from day to day, you can lead.
Many people are in difficult circumstances. They struggle emotionally, physically or financially. If this sounds like you, there is no shame in it, but you may want to focus inward before you try to lead others.
Listen and Listen Some More
The next step is to learn what motivates other people. Avoid assuming that you know how other people think or feel. These assumptions are almost always wrong, even when they seem logical. Everybody is unique, each with a wild combination of motivations, dreams and fears. Listen to other people in every conversation you have. Seek to understand their viewpoint more than you worry about conveying your own. You never have to prove that you are right about anything. Instead, try to give others the gift of being heard.
After you listen long enough, you will probably have a eureka moment. You will see the problems people struggle with and you will notice solutions. That is how to plant the seed of a leadership opportunity.
Take Personal Responsibility, No Matter What
When you become a leader, you have to agree never to blame other people for problems anymore. Even if a mistake seems to be entirely someone else's fault, you must take the responsibility. If someone fails to show up for work, it's on you. If your team is disorganized and the end product is inferior, it's on you. If you seemingly do great work and your team apparently doesn't, it's still your fault.
The leader is the one who claims responsibility for all the problems. You may need to remove people from your team who perform poorly, but you won't blame them. Instead, you'll take responsibility for what happened and you will try to find better members of the team in the future. There are no ifs, ands or buts on this one. As the leader, it is all on you, all the time.
Your First 'Hire' Is Everything
This point is valid even if you aren't officially hiring anybody for money. The first member of your team or your tribe will have a disproportionately huge impact on the future of your project. When you start a movement and it's just you, you decide everything. People respond to your actions and your apparent mindset, which dictates the tone of the experience. Once another person is on the team, their energy will also affect the group and the hiring of all future members can define the tone of the project.
If you let a subpar person join your team, you will on the path towards more subpar team members in the future. If your first recruit is a great pick, then you are set up for more greatness. Be slow and cautious with early recruitment for any project.
Leadership Is a Process
The best leaders are continually learning and trying new things. The whole point of leadership is to learn how to create change in the world, so it is a never-ending process.
It's a lot like art. As soon as an artist creates something new, it is no longer new. That artwork becomes "solved," and now the artist must find the next new idea. As a leader, you an artist of doing things, and you must keep reaching for new ideas.
Abhi Golhar, nationally syndicated radio host & entrepreneurial steamroller. Helping business owners advance and finish well.