3 Imperatives of Leader


How many leadership books, principles, and tactics have you absorbed in your career? If you’re like me you’ve read many  books, learned from bad and great leaders, and learned from your own mistakes. In reflection on these experiences I seek to simplify leading a team with these three imperatives:

1) Lead — It takes a Master of the Obvious to suggest the imperative of a leader is to lead! But it’s the right word to remember everyday if you look at the definition: "To show the way to by going in advance." and "To guide or direct in a course.". There’s a lot to successful leadership, but at its core your requirement is to set the course, articulate a big vision, and let others know where they’re headed (to guide or direct). This takes foresight, strategic agility, courage, and communication.

2) Connect  — Once a leader sets the course, he must also connect the direction (objective) to his/her people’s roles and responsibilities. Then, once each person knows their objective, you work for them, helping them get there. There was a turning point in my career when I realized our team was more successful by helping them see how their work impacted the larger goals. From there, it was easy for me to give rather than get — to give up idea ownership, to consult and assist rather than control, and to help develop people. In my opinion, there is an entrepreneur in everyone. If you show people what business they are in, what success looks like, they will run their business.

3) Inspire — Even employees who are disciplined, ambitious, and self-motivated can always be inspired to do something more, think differently, and stretch themselves. I’m going to use "inspire" broadly to entail developing your people, getting them excited about the goal, managing/measuring performance along the way, and having fun on the journey. This is a terribly underestimated, undervalued, and poorly executed principle in most executives. I’ve worked for the bad and the great…once you see both you know! In the best case, you are surrounded by self-motivated people who achieve great things and you can lead by inspiring (not easy). Most likely, you need to take a hands on approach to motivate — translating company goals to personal goals and understanding what motivates each person on the team. Short of this, you manage — having to get  tactical with measures and short term goals to move people along (not exactly inspirational). Inspiration, motivation and management are not mutually exclusive. It’s like a portfolio. Great leaders balance these three elements to accomplish great things for their team and themselves!

3 Responses

  1. LCI a simple acronym. But what power! The acronym is simple to say but even more simple to remember and implement!.
    Lead: Step forward, offer alternatives.
    Connect: Listen, observe, implement and give others the credit.
    Inspire: Give your view and let others innovate, create, implement and then acknowledge their accomplishments. An “Atta Boy” plaque goes a long way.
    LCI: It really is simple!

  2. LCI is simple and easy. Thanks for sharing it Sam!

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