Successful leadership depends on what you don’t see – secret decisions that are spread out over time and go nearly unnoticed.
What you see when you observe successful leaders in action is the result of small, private, unremarkable choices.
Small decisions determine destiny. A leader’s trajectory is unnoticed at first; but the congealing of small, insignificant actions makes leadership. On their own, individual choices often feel insignificant; but the piling up of insignificant decisions forms you.
Little things make us who we are.
Six small choices:
- Stop using others as excuses. You are smaller than the people you hide behind.
- Choose vulnerability over wall-building. Barriers keep you in, more than they keep others out. The more you hide the more you lose yourself.
- Pick initiative over comfort. Don’t worry about a life of initiative. Just choose action today over action tomorrow.
- Select service over ease. Serving others seldom fits neatly into schedules. Ease is the enemy of meaning.
- Tip toward gratitude rather than greed. Small souls have small impact. Just keep saying thank you.
- Transform complaining, frustration, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness into opportunities to make a difference.
Big choices become small when you add the word “today.” For example, Stop using others as excuses, today. Choose vulnerability over wall-building, today.
Dull comes before dramatic. Boring choices, that no one sees, make leaders. The path to remarkable begins unremarkably.
“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”
– Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player
What small choices make leaders?
Sometimes the hardest decision is to allow an employee to make a mistake. (Not something that would hurt the organization)
It is easy to let an employee make a decision and then correct it if it does not meet your standard (Read that as it is not done your way) However; when the employee knows they have to live with their decision, most of the time their attitude changes and their decision making improves!
Actions without consequences constitute approval. So you are sending the message of whatever you decide, I will fix. There is very limited learning in that.
So then when you go into a quiet corner and earnestly converse/train/educate your employee when no one else is around, it becomes a small decision with a big payback.
We have to move away from buzzword compliant leadership. We’ve all read the book or listened to the pod casts, but what do you do when the “cameras” go away. Do you do and say “thank you” or “I value your input”
Remember when you coach employees, you are asking their input, not their permission!
HA! Love your parenthetical statements, Charles. And your comments are so accurate!
I’m giving you a virtual standing ovation. This is a GRAND SLAM. I am also an avid reader of Leadership Freak. Every time I peek in I always look forward to what your blog will have to say and I always find something relevant and of value be it personally or professionally.