Leadership. Love that word.
Makes me think of Mandela and Gandhi. Gates and Edison. Mozart and Beckham. Bono and Bieber 😉
It’s a word I’ve passionately built the past 20 years of my life around reminding so-called ordinary people that they are destined to lead. And create. And contribute. And win.
These are strange and gorgeous times. Tons of challenges. Dazzling possibilities.
And I viscerally want you to leverage these times to fly. To express your talent. To do your dreams. To make the world better.
To help you Lead Without a Title, I’ve distilled 10 of the most valuable and practical insights on leadership that I’ve taught to our global corporate clients like Starbucks, IBM, Nike, GE and FedEx. These ideas have helped them do some great things. My deep wish is that they deliver the same results for you.
#1. THE JOB OF A LEADER IS TO GROW MORE LEADERS
I’ll be blunt: if you’re not building more leaders, then you’re not leading, you’re following. Your job (regardless of whether or not you have a title) is to help people do work they never dreamed they could do. Your job is to inspire people to own their talents, express their gifts and do the best work of their lives. That’s part of what it truly means to lead.
#2. NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL YOU MOVE
Start small, dream huge but begin today. Nothing happens until you take massive action. The sad reality is that procrastination is nothing more than the defense mechanism of choice used by scared people. Here’s what I mean: if we actually did our goals and acted on our visions, we’d become ultra-successful. And spectacular success brings responsibility. That frightens most among us. And so we put off getting great things done. And blame the world for any mediocrity that infuses our lives.
#3. YOUR BEHAVIOR REVEALS YOUR BELIEFS
You tell the world what you believe via how you behave. Complain all day long and you reveal a deeply ingrained set of beliefs that you are powerless and apathetic. Present work that has typos and poor wording and you express a belief that average is cool with you. Mistreat others and you reveal that you’re selfish–and disconnected from the beautiful humanity that surrounds you. The good news is that as you wire in the beliefs of leadership (versus victim hood), your behavior changes automatically.
#4. IDEAS ARE WORTHLESS WITHOUT EXECUTION
I’d rather have an average idea that my team and I flawlessly execute on than a genius-level idea with poor execution. The best Leaders Without Titles and the organizations that win big are all about “less talk and more do”. Less meetings and more delivery. Less analysis and more rolling up of sleeves and getting amazing projects done.
#5. WHEN YOU LEARN MORE YOU GET TO ACHIEVE MORE
To double your income, triple your rate of learning. Few things have served my professional career–and the careers of the billionaires, Titans and CEOs I privately coach than this idea. Please simply remember that genius is much less about natural talent and much more about out-studying, out-preparing, out-practicing and out-learning everyone around you. Almost nothing yields the exponential return on investment that workshops, conferences, online courses, audio books/books and coaching do.
#6. TAKE CARE OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND THE MONEY TAKES CARE OF ITSELF
Leadership is about relationships. The smartest, fastest and most effective leaders all get that the whole game is about people–developing teammates + serving customers + making the world a whole lot better by the way you show up in it. Learn to listen like a master. Commit to being more inspirational. Keep your promises. Do nice things for people. Be the most generous person you know. Staggeringly great opportunities will come your way. Trust me.
#7. RESPECT IS NOT GRANTED BUT EARNED
A title, position and a large office do not guarantee people will respect you. Nope. You’ve got to earn that gift. And the quickest way to earn respect is to give it. No need to say much more.
#8. DON’T CONFUSE MOVEMENT WITH PROGRESS
Yes, we live in The Age of Dramatic Distraction. According to The Financial Times we collectively spend 100,000,000 minutes a day playing games on our smartphones. Most people in business are spending the absolute best hours of their days being busy being busy. Leaders Without Titles are completely different. I teach my clients a whole system of tactics to 20X productivity but a few to apply are these: start your day at 5 AM/set 5 daily goals and get them done before leaving the office (that’s 1850 “small wins” in 12 months)/use your first 90 minutes at work to fuel your most important project/get good at saying no.
#9. VICTIMS DON’T DO GIANT THINGS
Victims make excuses while leaders drive exceptional results. You can spot a victim a mile away: they blame and complain and are negative and cynical. They’ve given away their power to achieve amazing things to other people and outer conditions for so long they’ve actually conditioned themselves to think they have none. You are not a victim. This day–and every one that follows for the rest of your life–offers a platform of possibility. And the great thing about using your power to make things better is that the more you use it, the more powerful you become.
#10. LIFE IS SHORT SO BE OF USE
My Dad is awesome. He often said, “Robin, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Son, live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.” I’ve always remembered my Dad’s striking advice. And carried it with me in all that I do. To truly be a leader has nothing to do with ego-stroking, applause and fame. No, to be a leader is to make phenomenal contributions that make the world better and cause a lasting difference. To lead is to serve. And to be of use.
As always, hope these 10 points are helpful to you, your life, your team and your mission.
Please share them, discuss them and–most importantly–live them.