Leadership impacts every facet of an organization and its people — success, revenue, turnover, employee engagement, and productivity. In addition, leadership impacts the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of each member of the organization, which is why setting an example of love and discipline is critical for the organization’s health inside-and-out. Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is a book about leadership transformation for today’s workplace.
Written by John Eades — author, podcast host, speaker, and CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company providing premium content to help elevate the way professionals lead — Building the Best offers a blueprint for the transformation journey, providing the following action-oriented wisdom:
- Why elevating others requires practicing love and discipline
- Four elements of team culture and how to develop them
- The purpose trifecta of values, vision, and mission
- To maintain high standards and practice true accountability
Eades emphasizes that “Leadership is inspiring, empowering, and seeing in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.”
Being an incredible leader at the helm is imperative; and for an organization to grow to its greatest potential, an “army of leaders” is essential to building the best and elevating others. Eades delves into core principles around how to build a culture of leadership.
Principle 1: Use high levels of love and discipline to elevate others.
Eades defines “love” as contributing to someone’s long-term success and well-being; and “discipline” as promoting standards in order for an individual to choose to be at his/her best. A LearnLoft study conducted by Eades and his team found that of 40,000 leaders in various roles ranging from CEOs to frontline managers, there was a direct correlation between their effectiveness and their use of love and discipline. There are 16 core competencies – eight in love and eight in discipline – that act as a barometer in determining specific strengths and weaknesses. The core competencies for love, include recognition, personality, development, unity, positivity, vulnerability, empathy, and trust. Core competencies for discipline, include standards, coaching, goals, model (exemplifying expected standards and behaviors), consistency, accountability, priority, and vision.
Principle 2: Without strong relationships, you can’t lead.
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and partner of Greylock, came up with an easy-to-understand formula for the elements of trust: Consistency + Time = Trust
Each day leaders have the opportunity to build stronger bonds of mutual trust with their team by sharing competence, showing care, and exposing personal character. The key to sharing competence is imparting the technical knowledge gained to those that are lead, as well as showing leadership skills on an ongoing basis. In addition, accept the power of actions, not just words, in care and character — instead of just going through the motions, focus intentions around listening and remembering.
Principle 3: Culture starts with you, but your people prove it.
Culture in the modern business sense revolves around shared beliefs and values, including the four core elements: safety, unity, positivity, and energy. Create a workspace where people can share ideas, ask questions, and collaborate. This also includes inclusivity and people feeling like they are a part of something bigger than themselves, which helps foster productivity and innovation.
Principle 4: People persevere because of purpose, not pay.
The purpose of the trifecta is made up of values, vision, and mission. As Eades writes, “Values come alive not through words on a wall or a website, but through the actions of everyone in the organization.” The values become a part of the team’s guiding light. These values coupled with a mission help the foundation of purpose and belief in a vision of the future.
Principle 5: Goals aren’t achieved without priorities put into action.
The purpose trifecta must be broken down into an actionable system that everyone on the team can buy into and use as a grounding force. This influences daily decisions and ownership of actions. To get from the short-term goal to a long-term vision, Eades suggests the following step-by-step directions:
- Create a clear goal, using this formula: Clear Objective + Completion Date + Carrot = Your Team Goal
- Define priorities for a shared team goal with specific things that can be ranked. Consider areas within products, projects, or job functions.
- Make decisions each day to align the team with the organization’s priorities to drive real results.
Principle 6: The instant you lower your standards is the instant performance erodes.
High standards produce behaviors from people, which Eades labels the “Route to Results” — using a specific structure for the creation of standards. This includes two standards that fall into categories of policy, procedure, and merit; kept to one or two sentences ensures a clear standard. The standard should be connected to either “gain” or “pain.”
Principle 7: Accountability is an advantage; make it your obligation.
Accountability doesn’t need to be associated with solely negative outcomes (e.g., firing a team member), it can also be associated with praise and recognition for those who meet and exceed standards. A meaningful Direct Dialogue requires a three-part formula: Standards + Evidence + Courage = Direct Dialogue
With all three parts, the interactions with team members who fail, meet or exceed the standard will be successful towards a result. Authentic praise and recognition is important when people go above and beyond the standard.
Principle 8: Coaching unlocks potential and elevates performance.
Highly attuned leaders can help guide team members through role development, in addition to going beyond the role. The goal is to help people reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today. These stages include:
- Awareness – Assess important fundamental skills that need to be developed in the current role, as well as a current level of proficiency in each skill area. This will guide towards evaluating ways and resources to facilitate progress.
- Building critical mass – The quickest advancement through this stage is when people have the opportunity to watch others apply the skills effectively, and then are able to practice the skills under observation. Eventually, confidence is accrued and individuals will start the application of concepts learned by themselves.
- Accelerated performance – Individuals are able to execute job responsibilities on their own at a high level, as well as teach less experienced teammates.
- Sustained excellence – This role is mastery; sustained excellence can earn this individual the title of “industry expert.”
Leadership demands greatness, and the world needs leaders to function in a way that elevates others. By inspiring, empowering, and serving in order to elevate others over an extended period of time, leaders can excel wherever they are, regardless of industry or organization size. In closing, Eades writes, “The impact you make on others will go beyond your wildest imagination. It will be a force on this earth well after you are no longer here because the people you lead will remember and eventually elevate those they lead.”
All opinions & expressions are solely those of the author and not those of any other individual, institution or business.