Leadership is a word that is used and abused frequently, but it is rarely defined appropriately. You can take on the posture of a leader regardless of your position. In this blog post and corresponding episode of The WealthBuilders Podcast, we evaluate two key characteristics of leadership: being a conductor and serving as a mentor.
Be a Conductor
One of the key characteristics of leadership is being a conductor. A conductor is someone who does their part to set the culture and positively affect the atmosphere. A good analogy for this is the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer. A thermometer gauges the temperature of a room. If it’s not a pleasant environment, thermometers make a negative assessment without doing anything to create positive change. On the other hand, thermostats have the power to alter the temperature. Leaders are thermostats. When they walk into a negative environment, they do something to change it for the better.
Conductors set the course. They do that by clarifying expectations and the direction of where they think the organization is doing. A conductor always does two things:
1. Leads People
2. Directs the Work
There’s a difference between the two. People need to be led, and work needs to get done.
Being a leader is similar to being a conductor in an orchestra. A conductor gives each musician the room to play their instruments, but the conductor is the one who orchestrates how the music flows. Similarly, leaders orchestrate the necessary tasks in their organization.
Never sacrifice people for the work. Sometimes, people need to be repositioned. To stick with the orchestra metaphor, sometimes someone might need a little extra practice on their instrument. So, they may need to be moved to a different department so they can get the training necessary to accomplish the higher-level work. In other cases, they may need to be given work better suited to their talents and goals.
Conductors also direct vision. An organization’s vision should always trickle down from the top. The next step after vision is to identify your organization’s targets—what your department needs to accomplish, and what they should accomplish. Finally, conductors need to focus on systematic growth.
Systematic growth is about more than hitting targets. It’s about exceeding them to a point where your results grow, and your people grow. That leads into another important characteristic for leadership—being a mentor.
Be a Mentor
Leaders serve as mentors in their specific sphere of influence. Part of your role is to learn how to develop people. A good chunk of your time should be spent in this space. Prayerfully consider the people you plan to mentor, and then prioritize them. Schedule the time to meet. Make it a part of your focus rhythm momentum.
Mentoring always requires listening. Never try to mentor someone you haven’t heard or observed. I see this mistake all the time. Leaders make assumptions about what people need in their lives, but they’ve never taken the time to actually hear what they need from their perspective.
How to Find the Right Mentee:
When it comes to mentoring, it’s important to focus on people who are teachable. I like to say it this way—you want mentees who are FAT: faithful, available, and teachable. Don’t just spend time with the people you like to be with. There are people that can be brought up, they can be coached, they can be elevated, and with a little mentoring, they can accelerate to other areas in their life where God wants them to be.
An untold benefit of mentoring is information. Whenever you mentor somebody you’re leading in an organization, you extract information on how projects are progressing. You also gain insight into what your direct reports are actually doing. This intel provides a better clue for how you can direct reports, approach tasks, and interpret plans.
Want to learn more about characteristics of leadership that can be applied in your business or organization? We have just the event for you.