Elevating your leadership | If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

Talk is cheap

Actions speak louder than words. We have all heard this saying and it holds true in nearly all areas of our lives. Having that in mind, it is interesting to see that way too many people don’t go past words, speeches and talks. Too many people don’t deliver what they claim they will and that is the greatest differentiation between those who talk and those who do.

Always deliver on your promises and commitments and honor your responsibilities. Demonstrate your value and justify potential expanded responsibilities. Remember, you want to grow, learn and advance and the best way to do so is to show that you are capable of delivering on your current responsibilities and even exceeding the expectations.

Culture of innovation, creativity and progress

Building your culture is a hard work that needs to be thought out strategically, planned carefully and implemented one step at a time. The process of bringing everyone to a new standard of performance, new standard of thinking takes time and it is not something one can achieve over night.

With that in mind, it is essential to remain committed to this process and to continuously communicate the value of new ways of doing things. Part of this process is reviewing previous decisions with current environment and future goals in mind. Make sure that decisions that were made years ago are still relevant and applicable to the world of today.

Why you must read meeting agendas

You must read agendas for all meetings you plan on attending. This is simple, straight forward, yet some folks still show up to meetings unprepared and at times even completely unaware of the intended direction and purpose of the meeting. This is clearly a bad situation to be in and as such you should do all you can to avoid it. A simple way to do this is to READ the agenda ahead of time and come prepared to contribute.

Companies don’t make decisions, people do

Build relationships and proactively meet people outside your team, outside your immediate surroundings. Selflessly investing in relationships and getting to know your fellow coworker, partners and vendors will undoubtedly prove to be of great strategic value to you and your team. Remember, companies don’t make decisions, people do.

Two weeks notice

You have handed in your resignation, your two weeks notice. Now what?
First, resist the urge to slack off and tell those few you didn’t see eye to eye with what you really think of them – it’s not wort it. Second, tie up any lose ends, share information and knowledge and work proactively on passing your current responsibilities as deemed appropriate. Third, enjoy, smile and continue treating people with dignity, respect and professionalism. You should never burn bridges as your paths may cross again which is why you should always think strategically and proactively manage your career. Don’t leave it chance and random luck.

To succeed you must leave your office

Get out of your office and have your staff do the same. Now, don’t interpret that as not working or simply hanging out, but as a necessary process to grow, learn and become better at our jobs. Each of us must reach beyond the comfort of our core expertise in order to meet people and learn from them. Meet folks from other functional areas, learn what they do, how they do it and what you can do to provide value to them. Learn how to provide custom tailored solutions that address specific needs of those who depend and rely on your services.

Remove obstacles and focus on solutions

Remove excuses and eliminate obstacles for others to be successful. This is a very simple view of what leaders must do and in particular what IT teams must do. Technology needs to empower people and provide solutions, not be in the way of people achieving their goals and being successful.

The world doesn’t owe you anything

Stop with entitlement and earn all you want and need. Be humble, work hard and demonstrate knowledge and experience worthy of those things you seek.

Furthermore, all of those who think and behave in a way that only they matter should reconsider their actions and understand that most (if not all) things in life need to be earned and are not given by default.

You must win hearts and minds of people

In order to accomplish greatness, you must win hearts and minds of people who are on your team. You must find unique ways to motivate each of them individually while simultaneously building a cohesive team capable of great accomplishments.

Leaders set the culture

Leaders set the organizational culture and that will never change. Accept it and choose your leaders wisely. On the other hand, if you happen to be a leader, it is equally as important to take your responsibilities seriously and act in such way that promotes quality, accountability, and communication across all areas you lead.

Whether you like it or not, whether you are aware of it or not, people look at what you do and say, how you act and they emulate your behavior. Lead by example and work on creating a collaborative, empowering and high performing culture.