The U.S. Army has an acronym, LDRSHIP, which stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. I feel these are some of the basic qualities all true leaders should have but there are a few more I would like to touch on.
Humbleness is something, I think, is taken for granted and some people will consider it to be a sign of weakness; that is absurd. It takes a true leader to be able to take a step back, assess the situation, and even admit that they were wrong. It is all about putting your ego in check and being honest with yourself and your team. It is about taking constructive criticism and even asking for help whether it is from your boss or your subordinates. You are a part of a team and everyone is there to help out one another; you are not weak if you ask your subordinate for help or even how to do something. You won’t know everything and that’s not a bad thing. We are all professionals on certain aspects of our jobs and cannot be pros at everything. So, be humble, ask questions, and check your ego at the door.
Sometimes we must make decisions on the spot without knowing the whole story or have the chance to even ask many questions; just the basic who, what, why, where, how. This is somewhat of a paradox to being humble because you sometimes have to put your humbleness away to make those quick jerk decisions. After the decision is made though, you must own it, and this is when you would want to be humble whether your decision had a positive or negative outcome. Not all decisions must be made off of the hip but when they are you must be ready to own your mistakes and praise your team for any and all successes. Being decisive shows your team that you have the confidence and know how to make those tough decisions so they do not have to.
Like I stated earlier, when you make a decision and if it is a failure, you own that failure, and if it was a success, it is your team’s success not yours. If you get the chance I would recommend reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. They go really in depth in the ownership aspect of leadership and really inspired me to do more as a leader. Sometimes the hardest part of being a leader is having that hard conversation with your boss on why your team failed but don’t point the blame on Johnny, Sarah, Bill, or Stanley, it is on you. This might be a hard pill to swallow but as a leader you must. This is huge in being humble as well because you are admitting your faults, keeping your ego in check, and you owned up to your decision. It’s too easy to point fingers when something goes wrong but it is hard to accept when you were wrong. We are leaders because we take those challenges and we own the consequences.
In later posts, I will go more in depth in each of these qualities, as well as those described in the first paragraph from the U.S. Army but this was more of an initial posting rather than an in depth look into leadership.
If you felt like I may have missed something or have any feedback, feel free to leave a comment or contact me through social media, etc.