When I was young I thought leadership was for the privileged. I would listen to leaders talk about the challenges, the costs and the constraints and think to myself, ‘Yeah right, you guys are flying all over the world, have tons of followers and pretty much have it made.”
Then I became a leader! I found out quickly that leadership-theory and leadership realities are very different.
My first big leadership assignment was leading a team of 17-30 year olds all over the country and to another nation. I had never experienced so much open criticism in my entire life. There were times it felt like mutiny! In the end we learned to work together and the trip was amazing but it took me learning the hard way, along the way. I learned a lot on that trip; about people and about myself.
Here are three of those learnings…
1. I’m never as clear as I think I am.
No matter how many times you have said it, say it again. You almost cannot over communicate.
2. Most people like to know the plan.
It’s tempting to hold all the cards so you have control but this backfires when people realize you could have helped them prepare by telling them earlier what the plan was.
3. People want to succeed but few know how.
Even fewer can do it on their own. If you help them succeed they will follow you almost anywhere.