Leadership comes in all shapes, sizes and styles.
Some leaders excel at task management, while others struggle getting anything done.
There are leaders that can motivate and inspire, while others can frustrate and demoralize those they lead.
There are leaders who embrace change, while others avoid change like the plague.
No matter how you perceive leadership, the process of leading a team of people is easier said than done. So much so, that many in leadership positions barely scratch the surface of what true business leadership is all about.
The following ten non-negotiables will help position your thinking. As you read through the list, allow each non-negotiable to settle in.
READER BEWARE: At first glance, the non-negotiables will appear extremely basic. But to live and practice these ten non-negotiables every day as a no-compromise leader requires personal focus, commitment and determination.
Your leadership thinking and behavior is what those you lead experience and respond to. And the more you refine your leadership thinking and behavior, the more effective you are at guiding your team to achieve goals and, ultimately, your vision for your company.
Here are my ten No-Compromise Leadership non-negotiables to upgrade and fine tune your leadership thinking and behavior:
Non-Negotiable One: Evolve as a leader through a lifelong commitment to personal leadership development.
- Without personal change, you become stagnant. A stagnant leader cannot lead a dynamic business. No one wants to be lead by a stagnant leader. No-compromise leadership is all about continuous personal development.
Non-Negotiable Two: Be a leadership “work in progress.”
- You’re only fooling yourself if you say, “I’m doing just fine, I don’t need to change.” Being a work in progress keeps you grounded in reality. You know what skills and abilities you have in your leadership inventory, and you know what’s missing or needs work. You will never become a no-compromise leader if you believe that you’re a complete leadership package.
Non-Negotiable Three: Business is all about persistent and relentless change.
- Embrace it. If you try to fight it, change will win every time. The no-compromise leader understands that today’s solution is tomorrow’s tired old system. Seek out and be open to new and innovative ideas, concepts and systems. If you wait for change to come to you, you’re too late.
Non-Negotiable Four: All change brings loss.
- This means that for change to occur, something old and familiar must go. Too many leaders stubbornly cling to behaviors and systems that prevent growth for no other reason than “it’s what they know.” New behavior replaces old behavior. New systems replace old systems. New thinking replaces old thinking. New leadership skills replace old leadership skills. Stop clinging to what’s become comfortable and predictable. The no-compromise leader looks to the future while honoring the past.
Non-Negotiable Five: Work through your “ick.”
- Changing your leadership thinking and behavior will certainly create some “ick.” It’s that uncomfortable feeling you get when you need to do work that’s outside of your comfort zone. The more the task or work pushes you out of your comfort zone, the more ick you will encounter until a breakthrough occurs. The no-compromise leader recognizes ick but doesn’t allow it to deter them from what needs to be done. Being tenacious and courageous is a vital quality found in all no-compromise leaders.
Non-Negotiable Six: Make time because it’s going to take time.
- Changing your leadership thinking and behavior is like upgrading your computer to a completely new operating system. There are new features to master and disciplines to learn. You can’t do it all on the fly. Devote sufficient time to get comfortable thinking, behaving and leading in new and more efficient ways.
Non-Negotiable Seven: Be open and forthcoming.
- The no-compromise leader is definitely more OPEN (forthcoming and approachable) than CLOSED (defensive and standoffish). Your managers and employees appreciate knowing the real score and how the company is doing. In tough times, it’s better to get the right information out there then have the rumor mill blow things out of proportion. If you have issues to address, get them on the table.
Non-Negotiable Eight: Be authentic. Let the real you shine through.
- You can certainly be decisive, tenacious and courageous while still maintaining a down-to-earth demeanor. I’ve seen leaders try to flip to a no-compromise leadership mode overnight and do nothing but rock an already unsteady boat. The no-compromise leader knows better than to attempt faking no-compromise.
Non-Negotiable Nine: Retain your objectivity.
- Only you can decide what’s right for you and your company. New ways of leading and doing business will come your way at an ever-increasing pace. By retaining your objectivity you will be able to sort through the opportunities and select the right path. When dealing with issues, your objectivity will keep you balanced and prevent you from jumping to conclusions before you gain a full understanding. Personal objectivity is a key quality of the no-compromise leader.
Non-Negotiable Ten: Stay true to your leadership vision.
- The purpose of no-compromise leadership is to achieve breakthroughs by refining your thinking and behavior. It’s a means to an end. Becoming a no-compromise leader is not about changing who you are; it’s about giving you the tools and the thinking to allow your no-compromise leader to emerge.
Here’s my challenge to you: Use these ten non-negotiables as a checklist to dig deeper into your own leadership thinking and behavior. Isolate those non-negotiables that YOU need to work on — and start working.
Your next step is to take members of your leadership through the ten non-negotiables so they can join you on the same journey to improve their own leadership thinking and behaviors.