So, you have realized that you are not likely to become the next five-star general in the U.S. Army or the next CEO of GE or the Governor of the great state of …. However, that doesn’t mean that you are not a leader and can not develop or enhance leadership traits that can be used to lead your work partners, family or little league team to new levels of achievement. Many of the leadership traits of major historical leaders are a combination of personality and learned leadership skills. That combination of personal attributes and leadership skills is what allows an individual to rise to the top of their professions, nations or organizations for good or for bad.
You might be thinking that you are lacking the great oratory skills of a Churchill, the political skills of a Jefferson, the military skills of a Napoleon, or even the administrative skills of an Eisenhower and that you will never be a great leader. Don’t fall into that trap. As I said, there are very few who have the right combination of personality and skills to become elevated to the very highest positions in business and government. The fact remains though that you have the greatest chance to impact the people around you by using focused direct leadership with your family, civic organizations and the people who you work with on a day-to-day basis.
Each one of us has the opportunity to exercise leadership each and everyday that we interact with other people. Personal leadership is the day-to-day leadership that makes meetings, projects and tasks develop and execute more effectively because of the leadership that you bring to the group’s task.
A few important items that each person can focus on with little reliance to charisma, oratory ability or other more obvious personality traits are:
To influence these areas of your groups, family, work teams, etc you need to understand the current level of these items. Once you have a clear understanding of the Vision, Standards and Execution for your group then you can develop the framework to change the culture and mechanisms to elevate the group’s performance. The absolute great thing is that these items can be influenced by you without needing to be a supper charismatic individual or have the ability to inspire your team with great and profound speeches. You identify your group’s level and then work to implement the change (but only if change is needed)…hence personal leadership.
Now let me define a bit more about what I mean about Vision, Standards and execution:
Vision is map of the world and goals are the compass. The vision of the group or even your family maybe informal, not documented or small in scale and that is all right. However, I bet no matter how small the group is that there is a shared or collective vision for that group. It is important that you really be able to understand the group’s vision before you can enhance it.
Standards are the expected rules of behavior and acceptable level of work related results for your group. When joining a team, business or family unit, it is important to first learn what the current standards of behavior and work related results are and then use whatever your leadership skills to implement change to higher standards if that is what the situation calls for.
Execution is the result of the goals and actions of your group. These actions are the “why” your group exists. For example, if you are a homebuilding company, how you build homes is the execution of why your company exists. Once you are known as someone who can meet the expected level of execution for your team, then you can use your influence and credibility to develop a culture that strives to increase the efficiency of the execution of the organization’s goals.
The great thing about personal or small group leadership is that you rely less on trying to be the “larger than life” leader. Instead, you use your personal relationship with the members of the group to effect the change that you identify needs to be implemented. As you set about increasing the efficiency and direction of the groups that you are involved with, you will find that exercising your leadership muscle will build and you will be provided with opportunities to lead even larger groups, which will present you with greater challenges for personal growth.
How are you going to set about increasing the Vision, Standards and Execution of your team, work group or even family? We would love to hear about your successes in leading others to excellence.
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