We are asked all the time, what distinguishes an average leader from a great leader and our answer is always two things. Those two things are “Do what you say you’re going to do” and “Finish what you start”. When the answer is revealed, people are shocked, as though those are givens in life and everybody in leadership does those things because they are just basic, simple, easily accomplished tasks that everyone in leadership does, except they are NOT. These two things are actually rare birds that very few in leadership actually accomplish and only the very best have any understanding of how important and yet how difficult it is to follow through and get both of these things done on any kind of consistent basis.
DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO
When those not in leadership say they will do something, it usually involves just themselves and they only consider if they themselves can actually accomplish it with the skills they have available. Leaders have to think outside themselves. When leaders talk about what they are going to do it usually involves anywhere from one to maybe everyone on their team and that means that other skill sets, motivations, and even personalities must be considered and dealt with before any such promises can be made. Consider which team you would rather be on, one where the leader comes to you and says, “we have been asked to take on a task, what do you guys think?” or one where the leader comes to you and says “I’ve committed us to this task and I need you all to step up”. How many tasks, on the latter team would you be “all in” before you would say, “hey what about us, when do we get a say?”
FINISH WHAT YOU START
Another aspect of leadership training that gets either neglected or is not done at all is finishing. Finishing is the skill of completing tasks, at a level that enhances the organization, utilizing the skills of the team in such a way that growth on one or many levels is accomplished. For those of you who may take issue with our definition, remember, we don’t do average, as a matter of fact we want the envelope pushed in all endeavors. In order for finishing to be at that level, there are many skills that have to be brought to bear such as action plans, personality and skill set matching, accountability, time lines, etc. These are all skills that are trainable and can be enhanced, except most organizations rarely ever train their leadership in those same skills and the result is projects that are interminably long, excuses that are not overcome, conflicts that are left unresolved and employees that are increasingly disengaged. According to a Gallop poll, disengaged employees cost the economy between 450 and 550 billion dollars each year, no small sum when you consider that all organizations will tell you they’re interested in growth.
So from a leadership standpoint, if you’re willing to put in the work, you can separate yourselves from the average and good leaders by doing what you say you’ll do and finishing what you start. From an organizational standpoint, train your leaders in those two things especially and reap the benefits that more fully engaged employees will result in, not the least of which is closing that incredible gap that the Gallop poll revealed. If you need help in any of those endeavors, don’t hesitate to give us a call or by going to www.liatraining.com. We are results oriented and proven in many different fields – your employees and leaders will thank you for it!