If you want to make the move from managing to leading, from being a professional to being inspired, from being one of the team to being a leader of the team, you need to know the ABC of Superlative Leadership.
A is for Appreciative Cultures, the end result of a leader’s work, when the culture he or she fosters becomes an appreciative value of the company.
B is for rock-solid Belief that your team can move mountains.
C is for Culture, which is the way people behave when you’re not looking.
D is for the Drive for Power that makes you want to lead.
E is for Encouragement, like sun after the rain.
F is for Fun, an indication that the right work is happening.
G is for Growing your people. Like Sir Colin Marshall, head of British Airways, who personally attended every one of his customer care programmes, “Putting People First”.
H is for Helicopter vision, because you need to see in three time zones: the near, the middle and the far.
I is for leader Identity, the ability to be comfortable in your own shoes.
J is for Joy because leaders rejoice in their own blessings as well as the successes of their team.
K is for Knowing your people, not just by name and number, but by strength and weakness, character and spirit, skills and potential, what makes them sigh and what makes them soar.
L is for Learning, because learning is change and learning is growth.
M is for Mission which leaders live as well as write. Like Bill Gates insisting that his staff at Microsoft, Germany, use the familiar “Du” instead of the formal “Sie”.
N is for the Nobel complex, the belief that everything your people do is worthy of a Nobel prize.
O is for Opportunity. Like Edmund McIlhenny who returned from the American Civil War to find his sugar plantation and salt works in ruins except for a few hot Mexican peppers that had sown themselves. He used them to produce a sauce that is now known as Tabasco and sold around the world.
P is for Plain-talking because leaders need to be understood.
Q is for Questions, such as “What do you need me to do?” and “How can I help you work better?” and “What should I be doing?”
R is for Respect, the touchstone of every relationship a leader has.
S is for Symbols, the language of leadership. Like the CEO of a candy factory facing financial ruin, whose first symbolic act was to shorten the tails on the sugar mice.
T is for the Traits of courage and determination, patience and perseverance.
U is for Unleashing what’s there. Like 3M, who allow their scientists to spend 15% of their time working on projects that interest them.
V is for Values, the guiding principles of the team, or “the Walkmans of the mind”.
W is for the Way, the Chinese “tao”, the route that leaders take and others follow.
X is for Xtraordinary because leaders get ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Y is for Yes, because there is always a plus to be found even in the worst situation and the toughest setback.
Z is for Zero tolerance of failure, sub-performance and giving up.
Learn these simple principles, and there are no limits to where you can lead your team.