Leadership, CEO, managers, management, innovation, where all foreign words to me when I was 18 years old. But that all changed during and after my FedEx Ground experience, which you can hear about in the video below:
Why did people follow me?
At that point in time I was very much living in the moment. So as I reflected on that experience, and the ones after that, I’ve come to understand that there were many reasons; but a few stand out.
I’m not going to write down specific tactics, but I will share with you my five leadership principles for anyone leading others:
Challenge and inspire people to be great
Successful leaders challenge people to do things they’ve never done before. They put forth challenges that inspires people’s hearts; call it vision with a purpose.
Bring meaning to the mundane
Successful leaders give meaning to day-to-day activities. At FedEx Ground, I reframed my job to give it a purpose bigger than just loading boxes, which everyone took notice off. And soon after I got others to buy-in by helping them understand how what they did was key to getting a package safely and on time to its destination.
Purpose gives menial tasks meaning.
Bring clarity to those you work with
This is one of the foundational things leaders do every day, every minute. In order to bring clarity, you’ve got to synthesize the complex. Leaders take internal and external noise and synthesize a message from it, recognizing the true signal within a lot of noise.
Leaders understand that clarity enables boldness.
Leaders generate energy, not only on their own teams but across the company. It’s insufficient to focus exclusively on your own unit. Leaders need to inspire optimism, creativity, shared commitment, and growth through times good and bad. They create an environment where everyone can do his or her best work. And they build organizations and teams that are stronger tomorrow than today.
Make things happen
Leaders are the champions of overcoming constraints. They find a way to deliver success, to make things happen. This means driving innovative ideas that people love and are inspired to work on; finding balance between long-term success and short-term wins; and being boundary-less and globally minded in seeking solutions.
I love these five leadership principles. What are yours?