4 Essential Rules for Emerging Leaders
By Sal Silvester
Look at you—you’re a rising star! You’re smart and successful. People are taking real notice of how good you are in your job as an engineer, financial analyst, customer service representative, software developer, sales representative, or nurse.
Life is sweet, but something is about to rock your world.
You are about to get promoted.
For people in your situation—new or recently promoted managers—this is a problem. You’re probably feeling thoroughly unprepared. Out of your element. You might even be a bit scared, and with good reason! Like so many who have greatness thrust upon them, you are entering new and unfamiliar territory.
How you handle this often-rocky transition to managing people will affect not only YOUR future, but your company’s, as well. According to the Gartner Group, people don’t leave their organizations, they leave their managers. Suddenly … that’s you.
As a front-line leader, your actions have a direct impact on your team members’ level of engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. Just thinking about what’s at stake can be overwhelming—especially since most organizations do not provide the leadership training you need.
Here’s the good news: Leadership can be learned. Seriously.
The essence of leadership is about employing key skills and behaviors on a consistent basis, and these skills and behaviors can be learned. We know, because we have helped hundreds of people like you make it safely to the other side.
Welcome to People-First Leadership and the 4 essential factors every leader needs to know and do.If a rising star like you can put these in place, you’ll ignite your leadership potential and the potential of the people around you.
People-First Leadership Factor #1: Lead by Example
Have you ever respected any leaders whose words did not match their actions?Have you ever had respect for a leader who preached personal values, yet behaved differently?
The first essential rule of People-First Leadership is to Lead by Example. This is the core component that will either establish your credibility or kill it. Leading by Example has nothing to do with charisma, or with being a public hero. It is not dictated by the traits you were born with. It is simply about personal alignment.
People-First Leaders generate commitment as they Lead by Example by:
- Going first
- Modeling the behaviors they want to see in others
- Clarifying their personal values, and acting accordingly
- Seeking self-improvement
People-First Leadership Factor #2: Align Your Team
As a new leader, one of your primary roles is to ensure your team is aligned. This means getting people to work on the right things. But one of the challenges you might face is that the people you have to get aligned are the same people you used to pal around with over burgers ’n’ brew.
People-First Leaders generate commitment from their team members, even those who moments ago were peers, by doing the following to get their teams aligned:
- Creating and communicating a vision for the team
- Establishing SMART goals for the team
- Helping team members develop individual performance goals
- Providing positive and constructive feedback consistently throughout the year
People-First Leadership Factor #3: Build Cohesion
If the standard in today’s workplace is to do more with less, then people have to be able to do more with less … together. Easier said than done, as we all bring our different perspectives, goals, values, and backgrounds into the workplace. Those differences don’t make it easier to get along or solve problems, but when leaders seek people who think exactly the way they do, their teams tend to attract the three unwelcome cousins—groupthink, mediocrity, and stagnation.
People-First Leaders build cohesion by creating a culture that knows how to value and leverage the differences people bring into the workplace. In order to value differences, the culture must be founded on respect and trust. Without respect you can’t have trust, and without trust, it’s impossible to work on the right things together. Respect and trust become the cornerstones of efficiency and cohesion.
People-First Leaders build cohesion by:
- Creating a climate of open communication
- Understanding and valuing different personality styles
- Clarifying and modeling team norms
People-First Leadership Factor #4: Engage and Cultivate
People-First Leadership Factor 4 is about building employee commitment by engaging team members at an individual level and cultivating them as people and employees. You can’t build commitment through policies. You can’t create it through standard operating procedures. You can’t demand it through directives.
People-First Leaders build commitment by engaging and cultivating their people in the following ways:
- Recognizing and rewarding employees
- Creating a motivating environment for each team member
- Delegating effectively
- Orienting new team members
- Encouraging learning and development
As you transition into your role as leader, you often will be tempted to look for a “silver bullet” to make things easier. I believe the answers are more practical and that’s why I wrote this book, “Ignite! The 4 Essential Rules for Emerging Leaders.”
“Ignite!” will show you the path to maximizing your leadership potential. It starts with a learning parable that illustrates the pitfalls and possibilities of leadership at every turn. But “Ignite!” is more than just a story. It incorporates for the first time my People-First Leadership model that gives new leaders all the tools they need to elevate their effectiveness. By highlighting common mistakes that new managers make, “Ignite!” accelerates the transition to competent leadership and showcases the characteristics successful leaders must bring to the workplace.
Ignite your potential and the potential of the people around you.
Excerpt from “Ignite! The 4 Essential Rules for Emerging Leaders” by Sal Silvester.For more information, visit http://www.512solutions.com.
Sal Silvester is the founder and president of 5.12 Solutions Consulting Group (five-twelve) and author of “Ignite! The 4 Essential Rules for Emerging Leaders” and “The Ultimate Goal-Setting Guide.” Working with teams and leaders is his passion. As an executive and team development consultant, his perspective has been nurtured through his experience over the last 20 years as an Army officer, an executive at Accenture, and founder of 5.12 Solutions. He has led and managed teams in the desert of Kuwait, the mountains of Turkey, and in the offices of many clients on process improvement, organizational change, and training projects.