Words to Lead By

Clarity: you know what you are trying to accomplish at personal, team and organizational levels. You’ve put in the time to get clear.

Meaning: you share your vision liberally because you know that everyone wants to contribute to something larger than themselves.The strength of your vision makes others want to declare their own.

Creativity: you are faithful to the belief that creativity is the byproduct of a safe, supportive, productive and energized environment. These are non-negotiable conditions.

Energy: you take care of yourself because your output is always the high-water mark for the team, and perhaps the organization. No one is more enthusiastic, determined, focused, or emotionally available than you.

Capacity: you take on all of the change, complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Everyone is looking to you for what to do next. You will need a bigger bucket.

Connection: you demonstrate an hour to hour and day-to-day quality of concern and affection for every team member. It is sincere and it comes from your heartfelt belief that human relationship is the cornerstone of the best kind of productivity.

Vulnerability: you openly discuss what’s working and what’s not, about yourself, the team and the organization.

Thank you: you habitually and authentically express gratitude in a clear and straightforward way because you know it is more valuable, and more sought after, than any “employee recognition event” will ever be.

Celebration: you make team events a priority – you make them fun, meaningful and energized – and you use them to highlight the great things your team has done.

Candor: you move towards the hard stuff. You do it from a place of empathy, consideration and respect and you never avoid the real conversation.

Learning: you live the beginner’s mindset. You are always learning.

Space: you hire the best people you can find, you set the parameters for their work, you are redundant about your values (the rules of the road) and then you let them go.

Help: you ask for it. You don’t have all the answers. Anyone who thinks you should is stuck in an old model that is literally falling apart all around them.

There are more words, to be certain. This partial list reminds me just how difficult true leadership really is. It is hard work and not for the timid, requiring deep reserves, great strength, and the ability to let go. The cost is high, the rewards are extraordinary.

Pick a word this week and see what you can do to make it come alive for you and your team. Just one word and see what happens.

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