The L.E.A.D acronym can revolutionize your team’s success
Join Tom Brown, Executive Director of Operations at Brewer Science, as he shares inspirational leadership advice and professional growth stories
Leading is a part of your life, whether you realize it or not. A common misconception about leadership is that you must have a designated responsibility to lead others, either as a manager, coach, or parent. However, leadership is all around us, and it’s up to you to seize the opportunity to lead initiatives, regardless of your title or position.
You lead by your actions and impact those around you with the energy and eagerness you possess when you take action. Being a leader to my sons, their basketball team, and the manufacturing team at Brewer Science, I have developed strategies to be an effective leader. The four steps can be remembered using the acronym L.E.A.D.
The ability to lead begins with listening. You must listen to those who report to you, who interact with you, and to who you report. Do you understand what they are saying and implying? This goes far beyond face value, and you should ask yourself, “Do I understand their fears, intentions, and aspirations?” This is key in strengthening your relationship with anyone, regardless if it’s at work or in your personal life.
Be aware of your own feelings and biases that could influence your judgment and perspective. You can understand your mindset and be aware of your mental models by asking yourself these few simple questions:
- Are emotions impacting my response, and distracting me from logic?
- Are fears pushing you towards doubt, defensiveness, or anger?
- Is your enthusiasm pushing you to act when instead you should be listening and preparing to engage?
While listening is the first step, without active listening and engagement you may just be “hearing” words. Engage others by being present and using active questions to gain a better understanding. As a leader, those around you need to feel the engagement and connection with you in order to trust you with their ideas and to earn their respect.
The best way to engage a relationship is by asking questions for clarity and understanding. It helps move you in a direction of mutual respect and trust. It allows you to dig into their “why” and understand their intentions. As you engage you become part of the conversation and the process. Engaging grants your membership to the club and is necessary for your leadership to be respected.
Engaging might not always be pleasant for you. Often there are conversations that may be difficult and challenging, especially if there are differing perspectives. However, even a discussion that is fierce still shows engagement and paves a path towards mutual understanding.
A leader must hold themselves and others accountable. A leader must Expect Excellence, (the 2nd Pillar of Impact), and the expectation must be measured and show progress. When your team knows you are listening and engaging, they appreciate you holding people to high expectations. However, if they see a mismatch between what you say and how you respond with your actions, they will begin to lose trust in you. You want to make sure you are “walking the walk” and leading by example.
Ultimately, you can have great connections with your teams but if you and your team fail to deliver, it is all for naught. As a leader, if you are truly listening and engaging with your team, it should give you an understanding of their strengths and limitations. It’s also important for a team to understand their strengthens and limitations, too, so that they can reasonably understand their expectations. They need to understand their place in the team, how to connect with others and where they need to improve.
Leadership is an important part of any organization or team. Regardless of your position or title, it is your responsibility to ensure you are leading your relationships in a way that strengthens the team’s efforts and leads to success for everyone. By following the acronym L.E.A.D, you can remember in every situation the importance of listening, engaging, being accountable, and delivering.
Brewer Science is a company that believes deeply in sustaining long-term success through value-based culture, diversity, and growth. Learn more about Brewer Science’s company culture.