Audie Murphy, America’s most decorated war veteran, was often quoted as saying, “Lead from the Front.” Learning to lead from the front is likely to be one of the most profound leadership skills that you can acquire.
When it comes to leadership, it is important to understand that there are many types of leaders and many different styles. Effectiveness is what matters. You should be a leader that gets results while also being respected by those that you lead. I have met many people that have led their organizations with an iron fist and are more of a tyrant than an effective leader. Do they get results? In a way, yes. The job does get done, however, at the cost of their subordinate’s respect. They are working out of fear, or to save themselves from the hassle of going against the grain. They come to work and do what is necessary to keep the leader off their back. In the short term, this kind of leadership can get results, but it won’t have a perpetual effect. Eventually, the results that a tyrant leader produces will result in counter-productivity and eventually a true leader will take their place.
Command Don’t Demand: Engage Your Team
There is another way of leading that can get better results while fostering positive emotions in your work force. This alternative style stems from commanding respect and not demanding it. A truly effective leader is one who leads by example, meaning that everything the leader expects of his or her subordinates they will do or have done themselves. If the workforce sees its leader following the rules, upholding a high level of excellence, treating others respectfully, and maintaining a fair work environment, that leader’s subordinates will bring a lot more positive results. This kind of leader will be highly respected by his or her followers.
Leading from the front means you have to be engaged. You have to be mentally and physically engaged in every level of your organization. In other words, you must have empathy for others, putting yourself in their shoes so you can understand them better. This alone will aide you in making decisions for your organization. Also being physically present and available for your subordinates is essential. People respect leaders who are on the ground with them. Being seen side by side regularly with your subordinates builds trust and it shows that you care and that you are close to everyone in the organization. People respect leaders who are approachable, and they respect leaders who care about the organization and the people.
Characteristics of Great Leaders
The greatest leaders I have ever seen where those that spoke positive words and those that were always willing to help the team out. People respect educated leaders. People respect leaders with confidence. People respect leaders with good moral ethics. The great thing about all these traits is you can instill them into your character immediately. You can show up to your work force and immediately encourage others. You can make good moral decisions and live a life of righteousness. You can educate yourself in your field and build your competence which, in result, will build your confidence. Being well mannered, well dressed, and well poised as a leader is very attractive as well. This can draw others towards you.
In terms of bosses, I have seen both sides of the coin. I have seen yellers, strict rulers who don’t always follow their own rules as well as people who don’t care about others and only care about themselves and making themselves look good. However, I have seen leaders who put others first. They will stand for others’ success. They have empathy for others and understood the importance of correcting people in private and praising them in public. The latter were the ones who got greater results, had much greater respect, earned positions of higher authority faster, all the while, their people enjoyed following them.
Leaders Produce More Leaders
A true leader does not create followers; a true leader creates other leaders. You have to know how to build others up and develop them so that they can move up to greater positions, or someday replace you as you move up or move out and on to another journey. It is counter-productive to hoard your skill base or knowledge set out of fear that others will look better than you or that you won’t be the star of the show. I will put it to you this way, if you won many great victories and took all the glory for yourself, how many people would benefit? Only one, yourself. On the contrary, if you were so skilled and so wise and so capable that you won victories and others admired it and then you helped those around you including your subordinates, your peers, and your leaders, how many people would benefit? Many people would benefit resulting in a mass of success sparked by your willingness to be a winner and help others become winners as well.
When you put others first, you become a servant leader and more good can be accomplished and more people will eventually go on to be successful as a result of your generosity. Who knows how far your impact might go. If thirty people had great success because of what you said, what you shared, or what you taught, and then each of them went and spread that wealth of knowledge to just ten more people, and so on and so forth, the results could be exponential! Remember, there is enough knowledge in this world to last the rest of your years. If you share valuable information with others, you can always learn more, you can always become better than what you already are. Teaching others is not going to make you look bad; it will actually make you look better because it is an absolute display of good character.
Leaders Produce Victory Through Teamwork
When you are a true leader you have to produce victory. You must be able to bring results for your organization. Whatever your company’s objectives are, they must be met and your leadership style needs to be geared towards accomplishing those objectives. It’s nice to give a good speech, encourage others, teach others, and show others what right looks like, but if you don’t bear fruit, then you need to change up your techniques.
As you are in a leadership position, you should frequently ask yourself, “are we producing the results that we need.” If the answer is no, then the next question should be, “Why not?” If after you have figured out why the team is coming up short, your next question should be “what changes do we need to make to put us in the right direction?” Doing a simple evaluation such as this can open yours and your organizations eyes to see things you might not have ever seen before. These questions should also be asked to a group. There is a saying that goes “not one of us is smarter than all of us.” If you have many people in a discussion, there is a lot of brainstorming going on, a lot of opinions, a lot of different levels of experience, groups can get more done than individuals can. Teamwork is absolutely essential if you want a strong organization. If you want to be a good leader, establishing teamwork in your work force is vital.
The last piece of advice that I am going to mention in this article deals with prayer. Saturate your arena with prayer. I heard this practice by a very wise preacher of mine and I have applied it within my organization. It worked for him and it has definitely worked for me. There are days where I walk the grounds of my organization praying over the place, asking God to bless my fellow teammates. I ask him to uplift those that walk on these grounds. I pray for safety, I pray for wisdom, I pray for strength to lead and I pray that others have strength to lead and do their jobs as well. I pray for open hearts and strong minds, and I always make sure to give the Lord praise. I speak from personal experience; I have seen some incredible things happen when I started doing this. It is a practice that I will use for the rest of my life and it has brought great success to my life and the lives of others. I praise God for that. My prayer is that you also use this practice and get incredible results as well. God Bless you and I hope that what I have written here will help you become the leader that you strive to become.