9 Things a Leader Has To Do

by Jeff Hilimire on August 22, 2011

In the airport last week I saw a book called, “9 Things a Leader Has To Do”, or something like that. I thought it might be a fun exercise to list the 9 things that I think a leader must do. Here they are:

Be Honest. People can handle it.

Be Passionate. If you don’t love what you’re doing, how can the people that work for you love what they are doing. If you don’t love it, find something else to do with your life.

Care. Contrary to popular belief, you can care and still be a good leader. Care about your people, about their lives and their careers. Want to get the best out of your team? Show them you care.

Be Open. Be open to new experiences. Be open and share with your team, or as much as you can, the decisions that are being made. Transparency can strengthen leadership if done properly.

Be Visible. We have this insane corporate culture that says, the more successful you are, the more likely you are to get an office and be separated from the very people that need to learn from you. If possible, try not to sit in an office. Walk around, be near your team and co-workers. Don’t be invisible.

Make Tough Decisions. There are times when a leader has to make tough decisions. Building consensus is fine some of the time, but there are times when a leader has to go against the grain and make a decision that he/she feels is in the best interest of the company. Read Onward for more on this.

Hire Better People Than You. Leaders can’t be worried about hiring people with more talent and experience than them. The best leaders relish the opportunity to bring in people that could take their job away from them because they are so damn good.

Trust. Trust the people that you work with. Or move them out of the company. Or find another job. Those are about the only three options if you want to be successful. But trying to be a leader when you can’t trust your team or co-workers is never going to work.

Don’t Be a Politician. I hate politics in the work place. Especially when it comes to leaders. If you want to advance by making others look bad, go to Washington.

Bonus: Be Positive. It’s critical to be positive. I don’t see how any leader, or anyone for that matter, can be their best while being negative.

What’d I miss?

  • http://KevinVogelsang.com Kevin Vogelsang

    I’m compelled to say that something about “commitment” still belongs on here because passionate doesn’t quite capture it.  
    Commitment to the cause and commitment to the people (as you mentioned).  Very important.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Commitment, yep, that’s a huge key for leaders to exhibit. Thanks KV.

  • Helenkkopp

    In short, be an example, and lead that way.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    Thanks HK, completely agree: “In short, be an example, and lead that way.”

  • http://twitter.com/GumboShowJoe Joe Koufman

    Can I add that a leader should confront issues or concerns he/she has with people directly?

  • http://www.robinsonleadership.com/ Toronto leadership development

    Yes, a leader must do these things. In my opinion, it’s the most important person after the department manager. He must organize his team to have a great workplace, to take the best decisions for his team and reach company’s goals as well! Thank you for this article!

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