Leadership Is About Managing These Three Things

The leading line
Where is your leadership heading? From hyfumc’s Flickr photostream

It is not new that people want to skip the line and get to the front. It is easier to skip that line today than in times past. And in many cases, you should. That is, if you truly have leadership intrinsic to who you are.

I can remember getting an education through training courses that were laid out for me like college when I worked at a big corporation. My managers put me on tracks to help me develop personally. I was standing in line then and getting a spoon fed education.

Today, there is no spoon. You have to feed yourself and the choices you make with your time and attention become paramount to your own success. Who knows where you will be in the next year. The gigs you will be involved in will vary as the nature of business continually changes.

Thus, it is important to really focus on developing your own leadership. It takes intentional management of your life and skills. Managing yourself, systems and talent are essential to helping you achieve your goals.

Manage Yourself First

I love the freedom to do the work which I think matters. It is much better than being told what to do next. If you cannot manage yourself, then you need a boss. If you do not know how to manage your time or focus your attention on what matters then a boss is there to help you know what to do.

If you are going to manage yourself, then know that those who are successful have the same amount of time as you do. They wake up every morning like you do and have the same constraints on their time. They just use their limited time in high leverage ways compared to everyone else.

If you are easily distracted or work on things that do not matter, then you are a poor manager of yourself. The return on your time and efforts is smaller than someone who knows where to put their focus.

It is important to learn how to be productive and get work done. This also means continually growing by reading and writing so that you know what others think and what you think for yourself. You are managing your own education and your own use of time. You are the one that cares most about yourself and in our economy where we are given more freedom, it is exciting for someone who wants to lead rather than be led.

Don’t Be a Dummy When It Comes To Managing Systems

Automation revolutionized the factory. It created more output with less need for manual labor. Automation moved into the office and then out into the world for anyone with an internet connection. You can build your own factory now. You can buy inexpensive software and integrate it into your workflow.

Some use technology for mere entertainment and miss all the strategic advantages that a high-powered business operation gleans from using software and hardware as a business system. Others are dinosaurs. They remember a time when a secretary did all the heavy lifting of understanding tools and they focused on just getting stuff out of their head into whatever format suited them.

Both scenarios are dangerous because the rest of the world is moving on proficiently using systems to get things done, make money and do business. You are on the outside looking in if you do not know how to manage systems effectively.

Leadership requires that you create leverage today and master the set of tools that matter to your success. You are responsible for understanding how they work together for creating work that touches others and brings value. The cost is low. It just requires your commitment and willingness to grow. Manage the systems and you own your destiny.

Manage the Talent of the World

If you can manage yourself and how you use time and you can manage systems effectively so that you can collaborate and get things done, then this puts you in a position to work with people effectively. You can direct their talent to get results in a specific way.

The talent of the world is available today like never before. Your pickings are not geographic anymore. You can work with anyone anywhere that is connected. Managing your systems well affords you this opportunity.

Managing talent allows you to create even further leverage and use leadership to move creative thinking as well as technical output towards goals you have set.

I think of managing the talent as a third dependency. You enter into this effectively when you are able to manage yourself and manage business systems well. These are enablers and precursors to managing others. You can set up the framework to work effectively and give specific instruction based on your vision.

You have the vision. Your systems create the framework. The talent has the creativity to solve problems. Your leadership brings it all together by mastering each domain sequentially.

It’s A Brave New World

What I am speaking about here is already taking place. Many people have learned personal productivity to manage themselves. They are also working with experts or building business systems to scale their business efforts. Lastly, they know how to work with talent and lead accordingly regardless of geography.

Because this is already happening and there are too many success stories, the excuses do not have legs to stand on. The proof is already out there for those willing to grow and willing to lead.

When you look at your own situation, where do you need to work to be able to lead effectively?

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