During my time at Nucor, I replied to a letter from a teammate who had asked me my thoughts on leadership. This in turn led me to write down my thoughts, which I share with your below:
Always remember Leadership is about people, and management is about things. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason because we as leaders need to listen twice as much as we talk. Leaders treat people as they would wish to be treated: fair and patted on the back when warranted and kicked in the butt when warranted as well; but always with the approach of helping them to get better.
Fostering strong two-way communication and working from a long-term perspective is critical. Trust and loyalty are earned not by words alone but deeds. It is one thing to speak the talk it is an entirely different thing to walk the talk successfully! Leaders are involved with their teammates and walk and talk amongst them often, particularly at the division level. Leaders lead by example with a strong work ethic, and they never forget who gives them their strength as a leader: it’s their teammates. You always want to conduct yourself in a way that causes your teammates to lift you up on their shoulders. That is how great leaders measure their success. Not by stepping on their heads.
Leaders find the ways that bring people together, not that drives them apart. Leaders are very good problem solvers and have those skills well developed. Leaders run to a crisis not away from them and they sure as heck don’t create false crises to cover the fact, they can’t face the real crisis. Leaders are visionaries and are always looking down the road and at the big picture. Their peripheral vision must be highly developed and that comes from education, experience, and continual improvement of their knowledge base.
They know they will make mistakes, but they never fail to admit to them and learn from them. They can’t be afraid of making tough decisions but must thrive on them.
My parents told me many things that I consider great advice….one in particular always stood out. Whatever opportunity is given to you always give it your best and don’t worry about the next levels of opportunity. People will notice your hard work, how you work with people, and how successful you do things and when they are looking for someone to help at a higher level of responsibility, they will look right at you and people like you for help and new opportunities will come your way. That does not mean you should not look out for opportunities and discuss them but that is not how you get there. Nucor is that kind of Company, one that looks for the successful teammate in how they are doing their current job and working with people and adding to their skills.