Friday, May 4, 2007

Part III: Principles That Can Help Your Personal Growth And Development

You might not want to change the world, but the following principles can go a long way toward changing your life and improving the effectiveness of your business.

7 Leadership Principles That Can Change the World

By: Steve Farmer

There are seven universal principles at work behind every choice, every interaction, every word that is said and every action that is taken. Understanding these underlying principles will help you grow and prosper as a leader and as a person.

1. Fairness

Fairness is a principle that's understood by children everywhere, but as we grow up, we each may develop our own individual concept of what is and isn't fair. On your team, there needs to be a common understanding of fairness, and it needs to be defined, communicated and demonstrated by you as the leader every day.

When you make decisions, be open and honest with your team about how they were made and why. People may be resentful or mistrusting of decisions that have been handed down arbitrarily or without input and explanation.

2. Honesty, Integrity and Trust

The people on your team want and need to trust you. They want to know that you've given them all of the facts and that nothing is being hidden from them. The way to gain that trust is by being honest and living with integrity.

If you meet this need for them, you'll gain their trust, understanding and faith. This can't be accomplished by what you say; it needs to be proven by how you live. When you do make a mistake or a bad decision, disclose it. Don't blame someone else, lie or pretend it didn't happen. Be honest about it and move forward.

3. Potential

Everyone is capable of being and doing more than they are now. Everyone on your team - whether they're a rookie or a subject matter expert - needs to feel that you see his or her potential to grow, acquire new skills and develop.

People look to a leader to evoke that from them, inspiring and allowing them to grow, evolve and fulfill their potential so they're constantly improving and learning new things. Don't restrict their growth by assuming they'll adhere to your predictions of how they'll act, think or talk.

See each person's potential and not their limitations. Assume they're growing and evolving all the time, and this will empower them to grow into the next phase of their development, instead of stagnating where they are.

4. Growth

When you're tuned in to each individual's potential for growth and change, you can help that along, actively supporting the new skills they have acquired that will fulfill their potential. You can accelerate their growth by offering them concrete opportunities such as training and upgrading of skills or connecting them to a business coach or mentor. Growth will occur through both positive and negative experiences, so encourage your team members to try new things and to learn and grow even through failure and mistakes.

5. Respect and Dignity

Respect is difficult to earn and easy to lose. Adopt the "golden rule" – treat people how you want to be treated. Treat each team member with respect and dignity for who they are and for the work that they're doing. Recognize and embrace their differences and diversity.

Earn respect by acting with dignity and showing that you have respect for yourself. Be a role model and hold yourself to a higher standard on a daily basis. Reward people in public and correct them in private. This will protect their dignity and reinforce that they can take risks. They'll know that if they do make a mistake or fail they won't be publicly disgraced for it.

6. Service

"For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great" Luke, 9:48. A good leader not only leads the group, he or she is also a servant to the group - a champion for their cause; someone in their corner that will back them up, support them and mentor them.

It's about not just being a figurehead leader, but being of service, working WITH the team and meeting their needs. Examples include making sure they have the equipment they need to fulfill their roles or helping them to cut through the red tape of bureaucracy.

In his book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey advocates that you "seek to understand rather than be understood". Aim to understand the needs of your team members, and to serve them instead of just leading them.

The leader has to create the sense of a team or a family, adopting the mentality that, "We succeed or fail as a team". Leaders who don't understand this are the ones who take the credit when things are good and blame others when things are bad.

In difficult times, teams need to have a leader they can rely on to act as their champion. It is the leader's job to wear the target and shield the team if they come under fire. That may mean taking ultimate responsibility for a failure or mistake, or fighting to keep funds or people.

When the outside world is taking shots at the project, or if there are roadblocks to the project, it's the leader's job to shelter the team, take the shots and get through the roadblocks, so the team can focus on getting the job done, and not get distracted by these outside challenges.

7. Quality

"On my Honor I will do my best". Understand that people want to do their best and put out a good product, no one shows up at work to screw up. As a leader, strive to always exemplify that, "quality is job one".

Establish a culture where going above and beyond expectations is the standard; not just for the products or services you create and deliver, but for how you live and work. "Walk the walk", and exemplify this standard in how YOU live and work, and also in how you lead. Don't cut any corners. Always doing your best is a SACRED PLEDGE that you make to your team.

By recognizing and nurturing these seven universal principles, you'll capture the hearts and minds of everyone that you interact with. We are all looking to have the universal principles of Fairness, Honesty, Potential, Growth, Respect, Service and Quality fulfilled in our lives. If you can fulfill them for your team members, you'll connect at a deep level.

You can achieve anything together if you can connect at this basic human level, and your team will work harder for you when they feel that connection. And vice-versa, you'll connect and feel supported by your team if you recognize these needs in them and in yourself.

Steve Farmer is a leader in the field of Coaching. As a skilled professional coach, inspirational speaker and author he brings the power of individual coaching to everyday living. In our frequently over stressed and under involved society, he empowers individuals to follow their dreams, achieve more in their current careers, and maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives.

A busy entrepreneur himself, Steve understands the many demands and challenges facing today's busy adults. He also knows that amidst the chaos, people sometimes need support in maintaining both their sanity and a balanced life. With his innate listening and problem-solving gifts, Steve helps individuals find solutions to their difficult problems.

Whether through one-on-one coaching, workshops, courses or keynote addresses, he helps people to better develop their personal talents and skills so that their journey to success and happiness is easier, more rewarding and less frustrating.

Learn more about steve at his website

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