Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 3

'Action is the foundational key to all success. ' - Pablo Picasso
It is often said that we "lead by our example." Or as my pastor Fr. Doug would say, "Everything you do teaches."
For me, this leadership principle says, Teaching is more than just words. Your actions speak just as loudly. If you want to "lead by your example," then watch what you do.
In view of this principle, an effective leader is highly mindful of his or her own behavior, actions, and choices.
Everything you do, everything you say, has the potential for leaving a lasting impression. This impact will influence what people do as a result:
  • If a manager wants improved communication, he needs to communicate effectively.
  • If a manager wants improved engagement, she needs to be engaged in her work.
  • If a manager wants his people to take pride and ownership in what they do, he must model the way.
Whatever you do (or don't do) speaks volumes . . . and teaches.
So here are six things that leaders do...that you can start doing today.
ACTION for Team Leaders
A - The A in ACTION is for your personal Accountability as a leader. As the old saying goes "If it is to be, it is up to me." What is your attitude toward your responsibility as a leader?
Asking others for input, ideas, and feedback is so important. Wise leaders know that power is not in position. Rather, power is in posture. And the most powerful posture is one that appreciates and acknowledges the value of others. An open and receptive posture that invites and welcomes many voices and perspectives. "What are your thoughts?" is a positive power play with real potential.
C - The C in ACTION refers to your Customer. Who is your customer, as a leader? Do you ever think about your team, the people who report up to you, as your customers? What level of service do you provide to your team? Are you communicating openly and often with your team? Are you coaching and developing your team?
Leaders are catalysts. They make things happen. They are 'agents of change.' And all change starts with the man or woman in the mirror. The Self. In the face of today's complex workplace challenges, the committed leader often takes a long and honest look in the mirror. And resolves to make the necessary changes in himself.
T - The T in ACTION is for your Team, the people you lead, the people you are counting on to be engaged in their work and to deliver results with excellence each day. A thoughtful and dedicated team is your most valuable resource.
Leaders make decisions based on what they believe is the right course of action for the right reasons. Where do they find input they can trust? While leaders often have good ideas, even the smartest know that they don't have all the ideas. Wise leaders embrace the talent around them and tap the thinking of others.
I - The I in ACTION is for Involvement of your team. Do you invite your team members to initiate improvements? Your team can be a great source of ideas for continuously improving how things are done in your company. Include your team and the ideas will flow.
Leaders actively seek the ideas of their team members. "What do you guys think we should do?" is not a sign of weakness on the part of the leader. Quite the contrary. It's brilliance.
O - The O in ACTION is for Obstacles & Opportunities. Every day there will be challenges to face and problems to solve. As a leader, do you see problems as opportunities?
Leaders ask for help in solving thorny issues. Leaders listen. And, in so doing, they engage and empower others. And they build trust.
N - The N in ACTION is for Now. Every day is a new day, a new set of problems, a new opportunity. Much needs to be done. When is the right time to lead? The answer is: Now.
I was once asked, Where will you find today's leaders?
True leaders are everywhere. And they are not what you would think.
A lesson I learned somewhere along the way is that there are Leaders (people with big offices and clout), and there are leaders (people who take the lead and don't get much credit). The latter are the unsung heroes of many an organization around the world.
They are the everyday leaders, the modest, unsung ordinary heroes who take the lead, step up to challenges, and get things done, without fanfare, headlines, fancy titles, or big salaries. 
What's my definition of leadership? There are three parts:
1. Seeing what needs to be done
2. Mobilizing others
3. Taking action
What really makes the most difference, at the end of the day, is leading.
Yes, leading is a verb, an action word.
A leader is known by his or her actions. Remember, "Everything you do teaches." your example.
About this series
In this article (the third in a 3-part series begun with this article on relationship and followed by this one on vision), we looked at action as it relates to leading. While these were written with a particular client of mine in mind, they are here for any leader, team, or company that wants to utilize them.
Let me know how I can help you to develop your leaders. Your success may depend upon it.
Terrence Seamon helps managers become engaging leaders. Follow him on twitter @tseamon


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