Tuesday, April 3, 2007

How Exactly Do You Lead Other People?

When I am asked "What do you do?", the response varies. However, the answer I enjoy the most and say most often is:

"We rescue life jacketed leaders in the deep end of the pool who were promoted but never taught how to swim."

You see, in our experience at MWI (Monica Wofford International), so many people appear to have been bestowed leadership titles (i.e. life jackets) and promoted to deeper or larger pools (i.e. bigger teams, bigger offices, etc) yet never put through any training on how to actually lead. (i.e. SWIM).

Leadership, or rather effective leadership, requires that you know how to and are proficient in:
1. Building Rapport
2. Building Trust
3. Helping others Grow
4. Motivating and Recognizing Others in Ways that Work for Them
5. Delegation, Prioritization, and Communication
and perhaps as important as all of these skills...

Knowing who you are, what your boundaries are, what your needs are, and having enough confidence to stand up for what you believe, as well as the needs of the team you lead.

That is a lot, but leadership is not easy. It's work. Learning how to swim in what can sometimes be rather choppy and complicated waters is not easy. People are not easy. That doesn't mean leadership is never fun or always drudgery, but it does mean that it is often misinterpreted as somthing that you gain when you get promoted, sort of like the surprise in a box of cracker jack. No one gives you leadership. You create, develop, hone, practice on, and earn leadership - one day and one person at a time.

Until we have the privilege of meeting in person....

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