Leadership Basics ARE the Leadership Secrets

Over many years of training leadership and management skills, frequently someone will approach me looking for some different wording or new technique to help with a ‘difficult’ situation or issue. When I then share one of those ideas with the individual, sometimes I will get a response like, “Oh, I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work.” What many people fail to accept is the right words and techniques are only effective if leadership basics are in place.

A gardener knows from experience that when the roots are nurtured, the fruit, vegetable, or flower crop will be abundant, beautiful, and/or delicious. She also knows that when the roots aren’t cared for properly, the crop yield will be small and weak. Leading others can be compared to a gardener attempting to grow her garden.

So what are the basics that a leader needs to focus on in order to “nurture the roots”. I’d suggest the basics can be divided into 5 key areas:

  • Trust & Respect – An effective leader will create an environment where followers trust leaders and leaders trust followers. They both show respect for others.
  • Communication – A leader that truly understands the basics will foster broad communication, starting with listening. He will understand how to communicate clearly and positively. He will communicate one-to-one, in small groups, large groups, in-person, in-written or digital forms.
  • Relationships – The truly effective leader knows team members and they know that she knows and care about them. They understand what motivates different team members, where they have been and where they want to go. The caring leader is concerned with their well-being, wishes and needs as much as their own.
  • Direction – The dynamic leader not only understands where the organization is, where it needs to go, but also, how it will get there. He is able to communicate this so that his excitement and energy is absorbed by others.
  • Accountability – A caring leader holds herself and others accountable for their commitments. She will discuss not only successes with team members, but mistakes and weaknesses. She cares enough to help individuals grow that she will not let an uncomfortable situation deter her.

To solve most of the problems in the workplace, leadership focuses on these areas first. Then the words or techniques become powerful and effective and people follow. The true secret of effective, powerful, caring, dynamic leadership is that focusing on the basics of leadership is the secret of every great leader!

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