Leadership in a Nutshell: Four Fundamentals

At the heart of an effective leadership model, you will find four key components. If you excel at each of them, you will succeed. It’s that simple. Allow me to give them to you and challenge you to ask yourself today how you are doing on each.?

essential elements of leadership

The Leader: Focus on Personal Growth

The leader is key. Too many times we ignore growing the leader. We readily focus on the problems of the team. We zero in on the budget, or the brand. We analyze why customers may not be coming in. But we forget the most important element: the leader.

The success of an organization or a team starts with the leader. It is impossible to have a great team with poor leadership. As you move forward, always assess the leadership first.

The question for you is: are you growing yourself as a leader?

The People: Focus on Relationships

After you focus on the leader and make sure they are the very best they can be, then you should turn to your people. Our focus should be having great relationships. When relationships are strong, everything else becomes easier.

Let the relationships be the starting point, and make sure they are always the cornerstone. But then go beyond. It is the leader’s responsibility to be sure the team is inspired, cohesive, and clear as to what needs to be accomplished. People should be actively involved in the vision and participate in key decisions. Your staff should be compensated fairly and treated with dignity and respect. And individuals should ideally be placed in positions which maximize their strengths, and the wrong people removed in a timely manner.

So, the question for you is: How can you take your people to the next level?

The Destination: Focus on Big Dreams

Where are you going and for what reason? If the reason is founded and authentically resonates within the heart of the leader himself, then you will be able to go there and take others with you. Are you only going to places that you know you can get to? Great destinations should never be defined by your ability to get there. When JFK told us that we would be going to the moon, about 50% of our astronauts believed we couldn’t do it.

The destination can be explored in may ways: the purpose (why you exist), the mission (what do you do and why), the vision (where you are going). Here are three companies whose destinations I love:

DISNEY: We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.
GOOGLE: To organize the world?s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
FACE BOOK: To make the world more open and connected.

So, the question for you here is simple: What is your destination?

The Organization: Focus on Systems

So many who talk and write about leadership live in a fantasy land. I have been guilty of this myself. We just focus on a beautiful vision, lead by a growing leader, and have people who are inspired. But we ignore the nuts and bolts that keep the organization together. We simply relegate that down to our team of managers.

Well, I have learned the hard way that there is no leadership, no dream or beautiful destination without a healthy organization. The boring, uninspiring details make the organization. If inspired leadership is the breath, these nuts and bolts are the bones, muscles, and organs of the body of leadership.

This is part and parcel of great leadership. Great leaders know how to put an organization together. Without it, leaders will have nothing. By the same token, a problem arises when leaders focus only on the organization. So don’t do that either.

Here we are talking about the systems: the brand, the finances, the strategies, the marketing, the human resources, the operations. There are two important paradigms in understanding how to execute all of these things. In fact, when assessing these elements from a 30,000 foot view, the only two things you need to remember are to:

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  • Create robust systems: systems that are defined, that are simple, repeatable, and scalable. Create systems that will support the growth of your organization, systems that will not break down with minor stressors. Devise systems that will not collapse if one person leaves, or if one server crashes. Implement processes that your people can follow, but not be imprisoned by. This is not exciting work, but it is imperative if you want to see success in your organization.
  • Create metrics to monitor progress:?criteria that are key to your success must be monitored. Some call it a dashboard. Others call it a scorecard. Call it whatever you wish, but you must do it. If you run a restaurant, the number of customers that are coming in must be monitored. You may want to look at how many new customers are coming in versus repeats, etc. Do you have systems in place to monitor your key components for success??


The question for you here is: How can you improve the systems of your organization?

Whether developing new teams and organizations or checking the pulse of existing ones, it?s imperative that the foundational elements are healthy and operating securely. I encourage you today to examine: the leader, the people, the destination, and the organization. And if you’d like to share this article, I invite you to Twitter_logo_blue.

Your friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

What is GREAT Leadership?
Podcast: Transformational Leadership Begins from the Inside Out


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