Great teams start with great leadership. As leaders of organizations, we must recognize that high performance begins with leadership. We must look at home first and make some assessments. Where are we effective, and where do we need to build new skills?
Teams and organizations look to leadership for inspiration, direction and focus—the “what?” and “where?” that illuminates the path forward. As chief visionaries and storytellers, high performance leaders paint pictures of the future that evoke passion, engagement, creativity and commitment. They evoke what could be, while unleashing and channeling creativity into action and value.
The high performance leader recognizes that to perform at the highest levels, the playing field, rules of the game and expectations for participation must be clearly defined. Thus, powerful leaders routinely:
- Articulate standards that define expectations for behavior, performance and results
- Have direct conversations—people welcome straight talk
- Have minimal tolerance for non-conformance and non-performance
Great leaders are willing to take the risk of revealing who they are. They are authentic in their interactions and communications.
Perhaps most importantly, great leaders understand that they lead by example. Their words set the stage, and their actions drive credibility, effectiveness and followership. They walk their talk. If a team and organization senses a leader’s actions are not aligned with what they say or the leader is evasive in any way, distrust and wariness rise and erode mood, performance and results.
At the end of the day, great leaders understand that they are held to a higher standard. When you live and model it, we know it and strive to match your walk step by step. When you cut corners or waver from these principles, we see the gap and become distracted. Our focus, creativity and productivity are diminished.
Take the risk of being authentic, have courage in the face of adversity, declare a compelling vision for the future, and walk your talk. You’ll be amazed at the unwavering community of support, creative engagement and results your teams will produce.
Jo Anne Nelson