The 4 L’s of Great Leadership
When finding out what it takes to be a leader, don't forget to take into account the 4 L's of great leadership. Believe it or not, the 4 L’s are all about communication. But what are they exactly?
Listen. To be an inspiring and motivational leader, you need to be a great listener at key times. One of the main things I’ve learned over the years is how important it is to spend one-on-one time with my leaders and even key employees. Yes, it does take a little more time to do this, but it saves me hours of confusion, frustration, and upset customers.
If you are a new leader, you will gain respect if you will allow yourself to ask what project the team has completed recently that they are proud of. Ask them what was their biggest challenge? How did you overcome it? This can be tricky when you have the “wise guy” who wants to take the opportunity to criticize you on pay rates, benefits, or whatever got him in a tizzy. You are going to get this, but don’t let that one guy ruin your leadership style because the other 99% appreciate what you are doing.
One of the key ways to motivate others as a leader is to ask questions and then listen, which allows me to learn, the second step. Learn the language your team uses, learn who your key leaders are, and learn what needs to be addressed to earn credibility. Don’t dismiss; just listen and learn. In listening, you will learn how the employees process the work, which gives you a good insight on how to lead, our third L.
When I was the youngest person on my staff and yet the one with the greatest authority—another way to say I was the boss of a bunch of people 10-40 years older than me—I had to set the framework for us to operate in. I had never used the word accountably very much, but that was how I had to lead.
Everyone, including me, was accountable to produce. When a customer called, I needed a work order created, performed, filled out, and funds collected. As the leader, making sure everyone knows their role and is doing their role is a small part of leadership.
This is where I would need to set up times to loop (our fourth L) back with project managers, accountants, supervisors, and even customers to make sure the loop was being completed correctly. It’s not fun, no one ever talks about it, but the leader is checking the reports, the quality, and making sure the loop is closed. I found having short calendar meetings with key employees helps me to loop back, keep accountable, and make progress happen.
TAMMY: Can you give me a little information on the four L's and what does that really mean?
JEFF: The four L's are what you're seeing great leaders do and this is what I like to train, especially new leaders to do. First of all, the most important part of communication is to listen. Listen to your team, right? And number two: learn. Learn from your team, learn from those around you. Listen and learn. And so then the third one, which is one that we're all good at because we're all used to doing this, which is leading. We lead well. And then there's the fourth one: the loop. Close the loop.