In a simple, but effective short text for novice leaders, a book illustrates seven key elements of leadership. However, there's an undocumented eighth lesson that is equally important and often overlooked.
Greg Blencoe’s book The Supermanager: A Short Story About the Secrets of an Extremely Successful Manager tells a story of an inspiring leader and describes seven key leadership lessons.
But there is an eighth lesson in there, and it's one that is easily missed.
A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. – Lao Tzu
Seven Leadership Lessons
But before I talk of the eighth lesson, let's take a brief look at the seven described in Greg's book.
In the story, trainee manager Andrew Hernandez observed something remarkable in a fast food restaurant. The staff was happy, motivated, and productive.
He wanted to know why, so asked some questions, and this is what he learned.
Surround yourself with high-performing employees
The team plays a big role in determining your success, so it is important to employ exceptional people.
Develop the team
Make sure that everyone has the skills, knowledge, and tools to perform their job.
Communicate your vision, then empower the team to accomplish it
Know where they’re heading, and make sure everyone else does too. The vision brings meaning and purpose to the team, and empowers them to deal effectively and courageously with challenges.
Lead by example
Your actions and behaviours set the standard for the team to follow. Teams must choose to give their best, and this is more likely when you show the way.
Listen to employees
Be available, open, and receptive to ideas and suggestions from the team. Likewise, give the team the opportunity to share ideas in a safe environment.
Praise good work
Celebrate successes and acknowledge good performance. This shows the team that they are valued and doing a good job.
Manage each employee differently
Accept and acknowledge that everyone is different. Diversity is important, but this means everyone has different needs, abilities, and motivations.
The Eighth Leadership Lesson
In addition to the seven key leadership lessons, Blencoe also shows us the importance of taking courage to approach people who inspire us.