This is a post that Bill Zipp wrote that I think you have to read! Bill is a speaker, consultant, and coach. He is also the author of the eBook The Smart Leader’s Guide to Personal Productivity.
There are laws that run the universe. Not civil laws, but physical laws like the law of gravity.
In the same way there are laws that run the universe of effective leadership. Not management laws, but principles that determine our influence with people.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a large multi-national corporation or a single mom of three, the laws of effective leadership impact you. This is true whether you believe in them or not, just like gravity.
Fortunately, these laws are few and accessible to everyone.
We’re not talking about turning you into the next President of the United States (God forbid!). We’re talking about making you a person of influence with your staff, your vendors, your community, your colleagues, your family and friends.
I’ve summarized these in the following four laws of effective leadership:
1. The Law of Credibility
Like oxygen for breathing, leaders cannot lead without credibility. You cannot influence people who do not trust you. End of discussion. You may be able to order them around or manipulate them to do things for you, but that’s not leading and will not bring out their very best.
“We trust–and follow–people who are real, who are consistent, whose behavior, values, and beliefs are aligned,” write Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee in Resonant Leadership. “We trust people whom we do not constantly have to second-guess.”
So this is where effective leadership begins. Being real. Being consistent. Having our values define who we are, not just in our words but also in our actions. That’s the meaning of credibility. And credibility allows for trust and respect, the oxygen of leadership, to even exist.
2. The Law of Clarity
Based on credibility, you’re beginning to build effective leadership. Congratulations! Most leaders never get this far with their people.
Are you ready for the next law? Now you must know where you’re going. This is the law of clarity.
Clarity in leadership must exist on two levels for it to be effective: vision and execution. Or, as I like to refer to them, the forest and the trees. In other words, you must be able to see the forest, the big picture, to be able to lead. But you must also be able to execute day to day, working in the trees, or you’ll never get anything done.
Vision (the forest) without execution (the trees) fails to deliver any of its promise. It paints a picture of glorious blue skies, but lacks the hard work of digging in the dirt.
Execution (the trees) without vision (the forest) is all hard work with little insight or inspiration. It doesn’t have a broader context with which to frame that work or a higher cause that work is serving.
You can motivate people through vision, but without execution even the most inspiring motivation will wane as people get the distinct feeling that the dream will never actually become reality.
You can organize people through execution, but without vision even the best organization fails to cross the finish line. This is because humans beings, who are creatures of emotion, need a sense that what they are doing actually makes a difference.
In other words, every plan needs a dream to empower it, and every dream needs a plan to complete it. You can’t choose between heads or tails on this one. You’ve got to have them both for effective leadership. That’s how the law of clarity works.
Click here to read the rest of this post and join in the discussion.