Leading from the Front

Leading from the Front

Being a leader by delivering exceptional performance, whether as an individual contributor or a people manager, is often criticized by others. When you are out in front, everything that you do attracts attention. People weigh in on both the good and the bad. It is a “price” of leadership. The best way to deal with these situations is: 1) Accept yourself. What you think about yourself is more important than what others think about you. 2) Forget yourself. If you continue to focus on advancing and serving others, you can face almost any type of criticism. 3) Know yourself. Separate your leadership position from you as a person. Almost 99% of the time, criticism is directed at the position, not the person. It is also important to remember that critical people often treat you according to how they see themselves versus how you really are. No matter the circumstance, remain focused on what you can control, you and your attitude.

Leading people from the front is equally important, but not as susceptible to criticism. For example, Julius Caesar insisted on leading his troops from the front when previous Roman generals had always led them from the back. The original Roman model assumed that if the general was killed during battle, the troops were vulnerable. The problem was that the front-line soldiers were always vulnerable while the general (leader) was safe. This negatively impacted the morale and will of the men. Caesar knew that you cannot lead from the back. When Caesar led from the front, the troops knew that he was not asking them to do something that he would not do himself. Because Caesar was on the front-line, his troops had more confidence, spirit and victories. Leaders today should also commit to leading from the front to remain close to first-line employees (soldiers), as well as customers and partners.

Effective leaders define reality from the front line. By being out in front, leaders should not be surprised when they are criticized. Leadership deals mostly with change and people resist change. That said, success requires growth. If you are not growing, you are atrophying. To grow, you must change. Commit to change.

All contents copyright © 2010, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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