When we are just starting out in our careers, we strive to be the boss because we see it as a chance to tell people what to do. As we progress through our careers and take on leadership roles, we begin to realize that there is a bit more to the job than that. Where we once saw glory and power, we begin to feel the weight of responsibility. It is one thing to be promoted to the top job; it is another to figure out how to truly fulfill the role of a leader.
In the end, leadership is about inspiring the team to success. But how do you do that?
Oftentimes, it comes down to communication – open, honest, and clear communication, both internally and externally. Famed management consultant Peter Drucker once said that “the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.”
There is a special quality in being able to notice things others do not. It is a skill that can be honed over time. It is really about training yourself to be more aware of everything, and then to discern what matters and to eliminate the distractions. When you can avoid getting bogged down in the small stuff, you can focus on the more important things that will make a difference.
Leaders who are able to prioritize things in the right order are almost always more effective; they use this talent for “seeing the unseen” to drive people to action. Sometimes, this can be seeing a business opportunity others are missing, sometimes it is the emotional intelligence to create connections with the team, and sometimes it is the ability to recognize a better way to get the work done.
Good leaders are always listening and readjusting, testing and reevaluating, shifting and encouraging. They have to take in a lot of information, but they also work to maintain awareness of the big picture. This ability helps to set the vision and drive their people towards success, all while minding the details, but not allowing them to become obstacles.
There is no question that the primary objective of any leader is to facilitate success. Very often, communication is the foundation upon which this success is built.
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