5 Things Leaders Need To Do In 2018

Leadership is a journey but it’s also one that can be shaped by what we learn from others

by John Baldoni

When it comes to leadership, people are always looking for something simple to help them learn to lead more effectively. And while skeptics might be tempted to dismiss such simplicity, I disagree. Bravo!

Leadership by nature is simple to describe. Barbara Kellerman, a professor at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and best-selling author of The End of Leadership, noted that there were thousands of definitions for leadership… including perhaps a half-dozen or so I have postulated over the years.  My working definition at the moment is that leaders do what the organization needs them to do. Pure and simple. Leaders must make the tough choices if their organization is to survive. In good times, it’s easy to have your hand on the tiller with the wind at your back. When tough times hit, the hand on the tiller needs to be firm as well as flexible to help navigate into the wind and over choppy water.  Recently, I gave an interview in which I defined five things leaders need to do to succeed for themselves and their organizations.

One, Think big. A leader’s duty is to look over the horizon to see what is possible. Leaders must operate with a sense of possibility.
Two, Understand it’s your job to make others better. No leader accomplishes much by him or herself. Consider explorers; they work in teams of people who are united in purpose.
Three, Look for opportunity in failure. Mistakes happen. It’s a leader’s responsibility to turn them into occasions from which we can learn. At the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania there is a department with its own building devoted to after action reports of military engagements. Reading them provides insights into what went right as well as wrong.
Four, Demonstrate resilience. There is no shame in being knocked down. It is what you do next that matters the most.
Five, Keep learning. Leaders are by nature curious.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator, executive coach and the author of many books, including MOXIE, Lead With Purpose, Lead Your Boss, and The Leader’s Pocket Guide. In 2017 Trust Across America named John to its 2017 list of Trust experts. Also in 2017, Global Gurus listed John as a top 30 leadership expert.

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