We often talk about the big debate about whether leaders or born or made. Are we just born with all the skills and traits necessary to inspire others to want to follow us, or is it more of a process of learning these skills? While that debate will go on and on, there’s one thing I do know, you define yourself as a leader in the “gaps”. Those seconds between something happening and your response. In this small amount of time, you show your people just what you value and who you really are. It’s in those situations when you have little if any time to think, you just react. In the “gap”, you rely solely on your character and values to drive your actions. No faking, no rehearsal, no second chance to get it right.
This is why I feel it is so important that one of the first things we do as a new leader is define ourselves. What do we really value? Where will you draw the line in terms of getting results? Will you lie, will you ask people to do things that you would never do yourself? At some point we are all faced with decisions that define who we are as a leader. I can’t think of a better way to gain the respect of others by making decisions that are always aligned with your values. If you have been blessed with some great mentors, you are probably well grounded in having a solid foundation as to who you are and how to align that with your leadership style. If not, one of the fist things you need to do is find someone that can help guide and mentor you until you have your values securely attached.
Think about some of the decisions you were faced with last week. Anything that you did not feel good about but felt you “had” to do? Those are usually the ones that deviate from your core values. Define your values for a lifetime, and your “gap” decisions will be consistent and right on the money.
Remember that your team members see and hear everything you do, You are continually watched and judged not just by your words, but more importantly by your actions. Always act as if someone is watching, because they usually are. Remember, your job as a leader is to always lead by example. Your team is watching.