One of the most common questions I get as I travel the world… is also one of my favorite questions… and that is… what advice do you have for young leaders?
I love this question because it comes from a place of humility and erases all air of entitlement.
It’s funny how maturity works. When I was 25, I thought I knew everything. And now at 42, I not only realize how much I didn’t know then… but even more importantly… how much more I still need to learn!
And there in lies my first piece of advice to younger, less experienced “leaders”… always stay humble, acknowledge you don’t have all of the answers (and never will) and be open to learning anything and everything you can from anyone and everyone you can.
The number one investment you can make is an investment in yourself. You need to work as hard on yourself as you do on your craft. And you need to develop yourself as a whole person. You need to be very intentional in developing yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The only way you can maximize your ability to lead is to maximize yourself as a person.
My next piece of advice is to extend that approach outwardly and put a tremendous amount of effort and focus into developing quality relationships. Relationships with your fellow employees, with your staff and with your colleagues. It is about connection. It’s about establishing trust. It’s about being fully invested into serving others. Any investment you make into forging quality relationships is well worth your time and effort. The relationships you create are your most valuable currency.
My third piece of advice is to work on your craft every single day. Do something every day of your life that helps you grow and develop. Read, watch and listen to any quality resource you can to help you improve your leadership, communication, teaching and organization. Being a true leader is not one-dimensional.
My fourth piece of advice is to dedicate yourself to serving others. Commit to adding value to everyone and everything you come in contact with. Focus on making everyone around you better by putting their interests, their needs and their goals first. Be the type of leader that people want to work with. Be a true servant leader. Bring energy, enthusiasm and effort to every day. When you see a problem, fix it. Be a problem solver, not problem maker. The world has enough of those already!
So that’s it… develop yourself, forge quality relationships, work on your craft and serve others… and do those 4 things consistently.
Sounds easy, right? It’s simple yes, but not easy. But then again, neither is being a great leader.