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Leadership Lessons From Fallen Leaders

By Bigg Success Staff
Novemeber 25, 2007

Career Builder

We’re told to learn from our mistakes. It’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others. Recently, there’s been a slew of turnover in senior-level positions in Corporate America. Here are six lessons in leadership that you can learn from their very public departures.

  • Deliver daily
  • Doing your job well is the first step to earning the respect of others. If you want to be a leader, you have to show people that you’re a goal-getter, not just a goal-setter. Otherwise, how can you expect them to do otherwise?

    You can’t rest on your laurels, but you also shouldn’t get discouraged if you fall a little short of the mark. Seek to win every day, but remember to get over today tomorrow.

  • Hold yourself to the highest standards.
  • Nobody respects a phony. You can’t expect others (especially subordinates) to behave differently than you. You have to walk your talk.

    Many people do the opposite. They hope nobody sees them breaking the rules. They think that nobody will notice if they cut corners. It doesn’t work. You will certainly destroy people’s trust if you fail to apply this lesson.

  • Show respect to get respect.
  • You can’t expect anybody to respect somebody who treats him or her like a nobody. People won’t follow people they don’t respect. Genuinely value the unique talents and personalities of those around you.

    Develop a deep appreciation for skills you don’t have. You need people with those abilities more than someone with your own expertise.

  • Take a genuine interest in others.
  • You have to take an interest. And it must be genuine. Otherwise, it’s worst than not showing interest at all.

    This is a basic lesson in human interaction. Show people that you’re interested in them. Listen. Relate. They will support you because they like you. Now they want to see you succeed.

  • Connect at different levels.
  • Strive to connect with people above and below you in your organization. Get to know your boss. Really understanding his or her challenges helps you make an impact. Ditto for you subordinates. Serve them by understanding.

    If you’re not a senior-level manager, try to understand their point-of-view. Doing so helps you understand the big picture. If you’re not on the front-line, be sure to make some friends there, too. You’ll understand the challenges faced by the people on whom everyone else depends for their job.

  • Feed the feedback.
  • Seek advice from anywhere and everywhere you can get it. Welcome people’s suggestions. Thank them each and every time they offer one.

    People love to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. Eventually, you’ll find a few who have particularly valuable insight. Let them know. Give them credit. Watch them support you even more!

    Find at least one mentor – inside or outside the organization, or both. You want someone to whom you feel accountable. Someone who can bounce ideas off without worrying about any repercussions.

There are lessons to be learned from fallen leaders. Expect more from yourself than you expect from others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be the role-model for others you want for yourself! Make these six lessons a part of your daily life and you’ll find people lining up to follow you.

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