While attempting to come up with some ways to be a better leader at work, I picked up this little book called 9 Things a Leader Must Do. The attraction to the book was that it was written by an author that I respect, Dr. Henry Cloud. One of Dr. Cloud’s most popular books is called Boundaries, and it has been a great resource for me in my personal life. Since I had such a positive experience and outcome with Boundaries, I thought to give this book a try. 9 Things a Leader Must Do was a shorter book on leadership, yet it did offer some great insights that I would love to share with you with hopes that they will help you as much as it did me. Of course, I won’t go over all 9 points in my selfish attempt to lure you into obtaining and reading this book on your own (smile).

Do Not Sell Your Dreams, Desires, and Talents Short

At times, after a little self-reflection, we can come to realize that our lives aren’t quite what we anticipated them to be. We realize that we have certain dreams, desires, and talents that aren’t being portrayed in our current life. So what do we do? Dr. Cloud suggests that a leader should listen to their dreams, desires, and believe in their talents. Being able to express those treasures of the soul is an invaluable and important part of who you are. He suggests to develop ways to be able to work towards your dreams, desires, and talents so that you can have a more fulfilled life. My takeaway from this was although life is busy and doesn’t allow time for me to enjoy some of the things I like to do like performing music and writing, I have to carve just a little bit of time out each week to incorporate those into my life. I’m sure you have something that you never seem to have time for, or something that seems hopeless to start now at this point in your life. The key is that whatever it is, it’s important to you. If we take the time to find ways to bring those talents and dreams to life, we will find ourselves a little more fulfilled.

Get Rid of Negative Energy

Negative things take up mass amounts of space in your life. So much so, that negativity can prevent anything good and perfect for coming into your life. This book had great insight for how to manage negativity as a leader. As a leader, there should be no room for negativity. If you find that there is negativity in your life, there are basically two ways to handle it; Correct it, or get rid of the negativity all together. Correcting negative energy can take a lot of time and effort, especially if it is another person that is causing it. If measures taken to correct the negativity isn’t found fruitful, then it is time to toss it out before it becomes even more damaging. The example in the book as classic: Both a wise friend and a leader compare notes on selection of an individual for a project. The wise friend “cringed” when the leader mentioned this individual as his selection, because this individual did not have a good reputation. To show his disapproval, the wise leader said: “I am old enough now and have enough experience that I just don’t do any deal or work with anyone where the “cringe” factor is involved.” I think a lot of people can heed this advice when it comes to matters of leadership. Sometimes advancement of an organization or a project comes down to the people involved. If you have a lot of negative weight that won’t go away, dump it.

Ignore the Popularity Polls

It can be easy to lean into what is popular. However sometimes doing what everyone else is doing, isn’t the best thing to do. Likewise, leaders should not make decisions based on the fear of other people’s reactions. The decisions that a leader has to make are tough, and at times, they can go against the popular vote. This can be tough when it comes to firing, laying off, demoting, or reassigning an employee. Especially if they are popular and held with high regard to internal and/or external stakeholders.

Build Up Structure from the Outside

A leader needs a wealth of support to accomplish your objectives. If as a leader you aren’t getting the support that you need to uphold a specific discipline, make sure to seek the structure you need whether it be inside your organization or outside.  For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, and it I preventing you from leading well, then try Toastmasters. Perhaps by adding a little external support, we as leaders can acquire the support that we need in our weak spots.

In Summary

9 Things a Leader Must Do is pretty small, charming book – but did have some great nuggets on leadership absorb. Do you have any tips to share that has made you a better leader? I’m always interested in any ideas that you might have.