7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

7 Must Do’s for leaders… 

If you want to be a leader it’s important you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Not for the faint hearted or for those that are only focused on what they can get out of it for themselves; leadership requires the determination to improve, no matter the personal cost and significantly more than innate ability alone.

Anyone can go on a course, apply for a leadership role but in order to become a leader you need to assure yourself you can do the following and then some:

1) Commit

Leadership isn’t a mantle you pick up and put down as you clock in and clock out; it’s a way of living and breathing.

It’s about living and breathing your values in the search of truth and delivery of outcomes for the common good and being at the end of the telephone ready to answer questions or pose them; day or night.

Leadership is about keeping your head when all around you are losing theirs (whilst inside you might be screaming); striving to be better than you were yesterday because you believe in being the best you can be and setting the best example.

Leadership takes absolute commitment.

2) Learn

Leadership is about learning about the world around you, in front of you and behind you. It’s about understanding people, processes, cultures, strategies and your arse from your elbow.

Learning takes time, reflection and an openness to being wrong and learning from it. Asking for help and ideas from your people just as much as seeking support from mentors or ‘elders’.

Leadership is about hiring people whom are better than you; having the self belief that you can provide an environment in which they will flourish and you will learn and grow too.

Leadership is about learning from yourself and others.

3) Practice

Leadership is about practising what you preach and striving to refine and improve what you do and how you do it. Not just what you say and how you say it.

It’s about putting in more hours practicing your speech, 1:1’s and board meetings than you took practicing to pass your driving test (anywhere between 20 and 40 hours).

Leadership is about asking for feedback and acting on that feedback, practicing until you’ve got good enough to show and develop others to walk beyond theirs and your weaknesses.

Leaders know that practice makes perfect and practice, practice, practice themselves.

3) Reflect

Leaders don’t just act they reflect and reflection is tough when you feel like you’ve little time to breath let alone pause and consider; what’s working well, what isn’t and what’s the best thing to do about it.

It’s about reflecting on the impact of a decision today, tomorrow and in the future. On your customer, your people, your performance and your organisation before and whilst making a decision.

Leadership is about reflecting on how far you’ve travelled and how far you have yet to go; reflecting on whether you and your people can make it the whole way or whether one of you has to go, for the greater good.

Leaders reflect to ensure they start faster and finish stronger.

4) Plan

Leadership involves planning and not because someone says so; because you know it really does lead to P.P.P…

It’s about identifying what good looks like, your current reality and identifying what you need to do to bridge the gap; not just tomorrow but the next day and the next day and the next.

Leadership is about recognising that there is always pressure to act, but only the weak lash out; the strong bide their time.

5) Prioritise

Leadership is about recognising that there are only so many hours in a day and miles in a mind.

It’s about starting less and finishing more and knowing what to start, what to stop and what to continue.

Leadership is about knowing who to invite to the table and who not; picking the individual over the many and the many over the few.

Leadership is picking your battles to ensure your people and customers win their war.

6) Put people first

Leadership is about people not processes, policies or machines and the recognition that without people you are nothing is paramount.

It’s about winning hearts as well as minds and helping people to be who they wish to be whilst helping you and your customers on their own journeys.

Leadership is about recognising that we all have wants, hopes, fears and needs and knowing that only when these are addressed are we able to deliver on our promises and not fall on our knees.

Leadership is about people becoming who they were destined to be.

7) Juggle tomorrow

Leadership is about tomorrow; poor management is about today.

It’s about recognising that tomorrow is effected by a single misplaced action whilst holding onto the pragmatic; all is not lost today.

Leadership is creating a tomorrow worth fighting for and a legacy beyond bricks and mortar and sometimes that requires putting off until tomorrow that which cannot be git right today.

Leadership is executing today and tomorrow in the same breath.

It’s not a complete list…

This list isn’t a complete list of attributes, skills or a crib sheet for success; I’ll save that for another day. But If you can step up to the plate and really embrace these elements and believe you can do them you can without doubt be a leader.

The question is do you want to…enough

Questions to consider:

  • How are you measuring up?
  • What would it mean for you to be able to stand confidently against each of these elements
  • What will it mean for you if you don’t?
    If you’d like more insights…

If you’d like help with any of the above elements of leadership; I’d love to work with you.

Twitter: @stefanpowell
E-mail: stefan@yourleadershipcounsel.co.uk
Phone +44 (0) 7736942382

Who am I? Stefan Powell…

I am yourleadershipcounsel, a father, husband, part time rock star and passionately bonkers about helping leaders get the most from themselves and their people.

What my clients have said…


“Stefan has been fundamental in bringing about behavioural change in the leadership population”. Paul Waters – Leading Retail Transformation Programme – Santander

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