Support Leadership: How to Lead?

We just wrapped up the series of posts with the philosophical underpinnings of Support. This next set of posts focus on leadership aspects of Support.

This is a deeper question than can be addressed in simply a few paragraphs…but to start, here are several characteristics I believe are vital. For a greater view, I recommend finding someone you know, love, and trust — and watch them. Ask questions and find ways to emulate them. In addition, read Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Essentialism, Linchpin, and Who. Books help. They share knowledge, but more important than all books possess is simply humility. If you retain humility as your teacher, you will go far with your team, with your career, and be respected 30, 40, 50 years from now.

To draw up some specifics, here are several attributes that are necessary in leadership.

  • Coachability
  • Communicative
  • Empathetic (seem familiar?)
  • Humility
  • Curiosity
  • Grit
  • An earnest desire to see others thrive

We must have a mindset of hiring “A” players to replace you — this is where humility comes into play. Not being afraid of losing your job, but knowing that you’re doing the best for the company. If you are “running yourself out of a job” effectively, you are becoming even more valuable to the company (Side note: if the company is willing to throw you out at any turn, then there’s a philosophical divide that you must wrestle with. Not to mention realizing it’s probably not the company you want to work for.).

Lead with fortitude — to hang in when it’s tough. I’m writing about fortitude as I’m flying home from our second office at the end of a very hectic, very draining month and week. I’ve still got three more hours of flying and have been flying for several already. I don’t say that as if I’m important, “better”, or even have “learned” all about leadership and fortitude. I haven’t. But what I have learned—and this flight is reinforcing—is fortitude is absolutely necessary in leadership. It’s like grit. You need the resilience to keep going, to push through. There are many times I want to throw in the towel, but that’s not leadership. That’s giving up and not learning. It does not demonstrate courage or strength. Imagine if I started running and after I ran 600 yards I gave up and said, “wow, I’m breathing deeper now. I better slow down so I don’t start sweating.” You’d rightfully scoff at me. But, what about fortitude? I want the easy way out. That’s not only terrible leadership, but doing the company a horrible disservice.

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