4 Non-negotiables for Winning Leadership

The keys to making big things happen with your team.

Winning leaders are people who make positive things happen. For me, that’s the definition of leadership. If you aren’t making things happen with your team, you’re just running a social club.

Benjamin Hooks, a civil rights leader and the former head of the NAACP, once said, “If you think you are leading and turn around to see no one following, then you are just taking a walk.” It’s a great quote. Unfortunately, a lot of people stop right there. They think that having followers proves you’re a leader. It doesn’t. Forest Gump had a lot of followers when he ran across the country. Was he leading them? No. They were all just senselessly running.

The only thing that proves you’re a leader is whether the people following you are getting the right things done and accomplishing something together. And that makes it easy to identify winning leaders.

A winning leader will have a track record of great accomplishments—of making positive things happen.

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It might be easy to spot winning leaders. It’s not so easy to be a winning leader. The world is full of people, ideas, and resources waiting to be put to good use. And effective leaders are the catalysts who pull these elements together. But how do they do it? How do they turn raw materials into spectacular results?

There are four non-negotiables for leading your team to positive, winning outcomes.

  1. Lead through Example: You can’t bypass experience on your way to becoming a leader. You have to earn the position and the respect of your team by accomplishing big things yourself. That’s where your credibility starts.
  1. Coach for Improvement: The magic word when it comes to coaching is “relationship.” It doesn’t matter how much success you’ve had or what a good manager you are, if you don’t genuinely want people to do better for their sake and their success—not just yours—you won’t get very far as a leader.
  1. Manage for Results: Everyone on a team must be accountable for making a contribution. Great systems make this possible. When you have the right systems, people understand what their jobs are. Accountability becomes easy because expectations are clear and results are evident. The team can make adjustments based on facts, and the leader can recognize those people doing outstanding work and correct those who are off track.
  1. Generate the Spark: When you look at winning people and winning teams, what you often see is a spark. Most people have trouble defining it, but what it comes down to is excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for a vision of the future. If you want to develop a winning team, you have to paint a picture of the future that gets your team excited. And you have to get your team excited about the future you envision.

Obviously, there’s more to be said about leadership, but I can’t do it all in one post—or two or four or six. Over the next few months, I’ll cover these four fundamentals in more detail. For now, I’ll ask this: What are you making happen right now?

Tell us about your most recent big accomplishment on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love to hear what you’re doing with your team. And don’t forget to order your copy of Serial Winner today. Pre-orders will close soon and the offer of a free ebook will go away.

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