Leadership - 12.06.2019

Leading from the Front in Your Workplace

Behaviors and actions can maximize your impact as a leader.

Tony Hunter Author: Tony Hunter

Okay…I’ve gotten through the tough ones – leading from the front of your family and your community. So leading from the front of your workplace is the easy one, right? Well, with hindsight, yes.

Is leading from the front in your workplace any different? Not so much…the themes for leading from the front of your community and family, overlap in leading from the front of your company. 

Swap “family” for “team” and you still have a working recipe for success in leading from the front in your workplace. Try this with your community as well. Swap “family” for “community” and see what you get. 

Understand, accept and embrace the profound impact your actions will have on your family. 

Understand, accept and embrace the profound impact your actions will have on your team.

Understand, accept and embrace the profound impact your actions will have on your community.

Leading from the front of your workplace is straightforward, after all. By showing the same care and devotion we do for our community and family each day at work, we can build reliable, hardworking and fun workplaces. After all, we spend a majority of our lives at work. We should be leading with the objective of creating a work culture that is inclusive, is enjoyable and inspires the best possible work.

When I advise people in leadership positions, behaviors come up frequently. I rarely get into strategy, tactics, or specific operational matters. In the end, we talk about how to lead from the front…how to ensure we’re getting the most out of our team. 

Given that’s a focus, I’d like to add a few behaviors into the mix; humility, courage, positivity and act like a duck.

I’ve always found the balance between confidence and humility to be an ongoing challenge. To be perfectly honest, I’ve struggled at times…and learned from those struggles. One of my favorite conversations early on with colleagues goes something like this:

“I have an idea. If you like it, it’s yours; if you don’t it’s mine.”

Why? Because the last thing I want is the message to the team to start with “Tony wants us to do this.” The lesson; leading from the front means letting others take your input and make it better; and to own it and get the credit.

Conversely, sometimes you, and only you, can lead the troops. When there’s a high risk, high reward opportunity, the leader has to be out front, hopefully with others “right behind you.” Wanna change the company name; rebrand products; make meaningful changes to biz model; take on well deserved criticism from customers? Be courageous and get out in front…be prepared to take the arrows.

Sometimes, your most important role is to provide “air cover” to the team. Knowing when to do that is critical. Don’t miss the chance to show your courage.

I’ve written about the benefits of creating a high performance work environment by leading in a positive manner. It’s worth repeating.

The goal of leadership is to create an environment where everyone does their best work. Finding ways to create a positive work environment can make a world of difference in performance. This doesn’t mean establishing lay down, easy goals; parties; a lack of intensity. It means ensuring you are clear in expectations, arm your team with the right direction and capabilities; and be consistent in providing well intentioned feedback.

Celebrate accomplishments and learn from failures. Build a high performing team with high morale and you’ll create magical results. That’s leading from the front.

Last, just what the heck does “act like a duck” mean? Simply put, regardless of the pressure and intensity around you, people want to see a leader remain calm. Intensity is ok, but frazzled not so good. 

So while you’re paddling like hell under the water, demonstrating the calm of a duck on the surface is a magical leadership behavior. 

I’m hopeful this article clearly demonstrates leading from the front is very important…and like most “outlier capabilities,” requires ten thousand hours to master.

Your company and team are counting on you.

So get started now…no time like the present.