A Leadership Philosophy for All: Attitude Is Everything

June 18, 2019

There is little in life that compares to the challenge of being a leader. Embodying the responsibility of leadership requires constant self-assessment and objective evaluation, which is why I have found immense value in adhering to a specific leadership philosophy to help me keep the path.

Perhaps my Type A personality, desire to find order and control in the most chaotic situations, or my obsession with quality are to blame, but regardless of the cause, I have often found myself in a leadership role throughout life.

Yet, it was not until I identified my own personal leadership philosophy that I was able to grow as a leader and instill important lessons in those I serve.

Thanks to great individual examples of leadership plus a wealth of personal experience testing out this leadership philosophy, I have come to a powerful conclusion: when it comes to leadership, attitude is everything.

Personal, Professional & Philosophical Leaders

We can talk all day about what makes a great leader, but there is something far more powerful is witnessing leadership in action. During various stages of my life, I have been fortunate enough to have incredible examples of leaders who have helped me form the leadership philosophy I live by today.

A Personal Hero

Ever since I was a little girl, my brother has been a strong example of an ideal leader. As kids, our parents divorced. Though he was going through his own struggles throughout the adjustment, my brother stepped up to lead and make sure I was OK.

He helped me reclaim my power when everything felt out of control. From that early age, I realized that a leader is defined by how he or she helps others grow.

A Professional Pioneer

At one of the first companies I worked for, I was fortunate enough to have a CEO who understood what it meant to be a leader. He did not sit in his executive suite and look down at his employees as he signed contracts and paychecks. Rather, he made a point to meet everyone and ask their input. Whether you were a top-level service provider within the company or if you were the janitor, he believed that everyone contributes and therefore everyone’s opinion is worth hearing.

He genuinely appreciated our opinions and he showed it. He made the time to be present and humble. I learned a powerful lesson from him: that one of the most valuable hallmarks of a leader is not just to teach, but also to listen.

A Philosophical Mentor

When John and I decided to build our company, I took it upon myself to sharpen my leadership skills constantly. Though I have never met the man in person, John Maxwell’s leadership philosophy has been just as impactful on my journey as any of the people I have worked with in person.

Through his teachings, I have found a sense of ownership within myself to simultaneously trust and support those I serve as a leader.

Through his teachings, I have found a sense of ownership within myself to simultaneously trust and support those I serve as a leader.

A Leadership Philosophy for All

Organizational leadership, cultural leadership, spiritual leadership – we talk about many different forms of the role, but when it comes down to the core qualities that make a leader, there are seven meaningful traits that form the foundation of my leadership philosophy.

Attitude Is Everything

I am a firm believer in “team leadership,” which refers to the concept of allowing different members of your team support one another and lead the way with their own expertise. At John Lynch & Associates, we live in team leadership every day. We all support one another with overlapping strengths.

Where I am weakest, someone else on my team excels. Where someone else on my team needs support, I am able to shine and lift them up. A leader is not a perfect being who has mastered all. Rather, I believe in showing your team that it is OK to lean on each other. Doing so builds trust and nurtures relationships that allow a team to thrive.

Trust Is Paramount

One of the quickest ways to destroy the morale of a team is to micromanage – an experience our Director of Marketing, Jaime Dunagan, had prior to joining our team. The antidote to micromanaging is trust.

I trust people to put their skills and expertise to work and, in return, they trust me to do the same. We communicate constantly, but I never have to question their integrity, work, or tasks. We all care for our clients and I know that underlying passion unites us all on the same path.

By trusting my team members, they have not only stepped into their own self-confidence more fully, but also they have initiated their own self-growth and have aspired to bring even more to the collective table.

The Learning Never Stops

To be able to lead tomorrow, you need to learn today. No leader knows all; in fact, such an assumption can severely undermine a team’s efforts. As the world is constantly changing, a successful future means a future full of continuous growth and learning.

Set the example that learning is a part of the journey and your team will never cease to grown and hone their skills.

Be Open to Relationships

There are several qualities that we can all agree make a great leader, like the ability to plan, initiate, and inspire. Great leaders need to be one step ahead. They need to also be honest, approachable, full of integrity, compassionate, and respectful.

However, none of these esteemed qualities are possible if a leader is not open to relationships. While some people in positions of leadership prefer to wall themselves off to emotional influences of others, the most successful leaders have embraced vulnerability and have opened their hearts to building meaningful connections with others.

Give Your Best Yes

How many leaders do you know of who work 90-hour weeks, who never take a moment off from work, and who seem to be at the beck and call of their businesses? Sadly, this is a trap many people in positions of leadership get stuck in – feeling obligated to say yes to every request.

However, you can make a far more powerful impact as a leader by committing to quality rather than spreading yourself too thin. Knowing when you cannot do your best work and saying “no” or “not at this time” can be a better way to serve someone than to say “yes” when you cannot dedicate your full time and attention.

If I say yes, it is going to be my best yes. Every “yes” I give comes with my personal devotion and commitment to absolute excellence.

Prioritize, Delegate & Trust

Admittedly, giving your best yes is easier said than done. To accomplish this cornerstone of leadership, prioritizing is key. Your priorities will always compete with one another, and when you are trying to control too much it can be difficult to see which priorities should win out.

Saying yes to the best thing requires asking yourself several hard questions, like:

  • Is what you are spending your time on moving the project forward for others to do their best work?
  • Are you unwilling to let go of a specific task or responsibility? If so, why?
  • Do you need to trust your team more?
  • Which thing really needs your attention and what can you hand off?

Over time, you will see proof of your team’s development by trusting them with tasks you once thought only you could manage, which will catapult your bonds and productivity as a unit.

Compassion For All

Throughout the process of forming your own leadership philosophy, it is critical that you always remember to have compassion for yourself and for those on your team. Exercise compassion by being a good listener, really hearing each member of your team, and giving them your full attention.

At the same time, remember to have compassion for yourself. Just because you are a leader and you are striving to be your best self does not mean you are expected to be perfect. Leadership is a journey; your commitment to being the best leader you can be is all you need to succeed.

At John Lynch & Associates, we stand for leadership. Through providing consulting excellence, we support others to make powerful contributions in advancing healthcare. Without a strong leadership philosophy at our core, we would not be able to serve our clients as effectively as we do.

I invite you to reflect on your own personal leadership philosophy. Which values are most important to you and how will you represent those in your daily role as a leader? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

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