Leaders collaborate—it’s the only way they will get everything that is needed done. Yet, many managers isolate themselves, or surround themselves with the same type of people who come to the same conclusions. As a leader, you must know your strengths and weaknesses; build on your strengths and surround yourself with people who have the strengths you do not. Build your leadership team. Please note this is not the same as a management team. Your leadership team does not require a bunch of titles, so it might consist of associates who influence others.
I see too many managers consumed by their weaknesses and spending all their energy trying to overcome them. We must learn to manage our weaknesses and utilize people whose strength are our weaknesses, so we can focus on our strengths and doing what we do best. The problem is that many managers are not aware of their strengths and weaknesses. As Shakespeare wrote, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
Everyone has the ability to make a difference. Leaders make the difference in people. When they make a positive difference in others they can achieve something special like a great work environment, culture and customer experience. Now, leadership is not easy: in fact, it might be considered one of the most difficult of all social tasks. Its difficulty lies in the fact that it requires discipline, effort and stickiness.
Aesop wrote, “After all is said and done, more is said than done.” To be a leader, you must be willing to get things done. You must never settle for status quo, and yet that is exactly what many people do. If managers are stuck in status quo, then the business and the customer experience will be, too.
Once people lose their innate desire to be the best or to excel, they settle into a state of mediocrity that is all too common. Making a difference as a leader can’t just happen whenever you feel like it. Leadership is about making a difference every day so that the experience never recedes to status quo. It is not a now-or-then relationship. Willie Mays said it best, “It is easy to be great one or two days a year. The real challenge is to be great everyday.”
The only way we can become great leaders every single day is if we rely on the support and strength of our fellow leaders. No one person can keep constant vigilance to ensure the team and customer experience is constantly evolving and improving—it requires a collaborative effort from the team. Which is why you must find leaders who bring different skill sets to the table, and those who you can rely on to keep innovating.