Deciding what you want to accomplish as a leader is only part of a successful leadership journey. As leaders, your success demands that you also intentionally define and lead from a set of priorities. These priorities govern your thinking, behaviors and decision-making, and ultimately your success as a leader. Leadership priorities promote the autonomy, competence, and independent thinking that is fundamental to staying on track. However, as leaders, knowing our priorities is part of the equation needed for success.
Unspoken priorities can rob you of valuable feedback and perspective from those best positioned to help you develop and achieve success. In the absence of clear direction, despite their best intentions, others can easily lead you astray and drive you in the opposite direction from where you want to be.
Here are some strategies to guide you as you embark on your leadership journey:
Discuss Your Priorities with Those Around You
As leaders, we often assume that because we know what we want to achieve, those around us do as well. We fail to remember that other people cannot read our minds. Consistently sharing your priorities helps others innately grasp what you are trying to accomplish. The result is that you amass a group of peers and mentors who can advise you and hold you accountable in accordance with your priorities and are less likely to substitute their own thinking for yours.
Live Your Priorities
Do what you say you are going to do so that others witness your seriousness and commitment to your priorities. Others will watch every move for consistency with your stated priorities. If they sense a lack of clarity or commitment, they will jump in to help with what they believe is right and not necessarily what is right for you. By holding yourself accountable, others will realize that you are serious about your intent and be less likely to try and undermine you. You won’t feel pressured and stressed to accommodate them when their ideas don’t fit within your priorities.
Adapt When Circumstances Dictate
Know that over time some of your choices will prove wrong. When you don’t meet the expectations you set, be the first one to acknowledge where you went wrong. Doing this quickly gives others confidence in your ability to go about getting what you want by short-circuiting and mitigating people’s resistance to your new plans. Showing others that missed opportunities are learned from encourages continued support rather than their trying to prevent you from doing something they think isn’t in your best interest.
If you commit to following these strategies, you won’t be swayed by someone else’s vision for your life, no matter how well-intentioned they might be, and at the journey’s end, you’ll know that where you are is where you’ve chosen to be. The more we keep these principles in mind, we not only do ourselves a service and those around us as well.