“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ J. Quincy Adams
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it” ~ Simon Sinek
However, if being a good leader was easy, anyone could do it. People would love Mondays and would run off to their offices to work on the next exciting project. Sadly, this is often not the case and people hate their jobs (and some even hate their bosses).
My 25 years of experience in leadership coaching tells me that this situation can be significantly improved in each organization (if it takes its growth seriously).
Many little facets, professional and personal, put together correctly make a good leader. There is not one set formula or style that makes a great leader – which is why organizations continue to struggle with Leadership Development. However, all of them can boil down to these ten pillars of leadership:
If you want to lead your team to success then you have no other choice but to become a good communicator. There are many dynamics to successfully communicating – orally, written, inspirationally, presentations, etc. Realize this as well, the vast majority of communication issues are actually relationship issues.
Relationship and Accountability may just indeed be the primary pillars to really focus on as a leader. If you want them more involved and actually to take ownership over the things that should be done, the first step is to start leading by example. A culture of accountability means a personal investment of each employee as they see the bigger picture and the way their work impacts the company’s growth; so the leader must make sure he/she is fostering it.
Relationships, vertically, horizontally and indeed within one’s entire sphere are the ultimate keys to leadership effectiveness. Without all relations being solid, we are wasting productivity-potential. Leaders cannot afford to have those ‘couple of bad apples’ among their relationships. The process of improving relationships begins with awareness and assessing one’s self first.
4. Process-Improvement / Change
Have you ever tried to change something within your organization? How did it go even you had the valid arguments that your idea will work? Some people just didn’t get it, right?! A good leadership means being able to implement changes even if the things were “just fine”. This is all about concepts such as ownership, buy-in, consensus, etc. It is also about mastering the dynamic of continuous-improvement of self and others, as well as operational pieces.
5. Business/Job Knowledge
You obviously need to know your job so you can most effectively make better business decisions. Some argue that the particular business skills are more important than leadership. While knowledge and wisdom are important keys to success, think about my favorite quote and how it applies here: ‘People don’t care how much you know until first they know how much you care.”
6. Results / Influence
What really counts at the end of the day are results; the bottom line. For results you need a good idea, a leader to facilitate the journey and then a good team of people who will work to achieve it. Realization of the good idea is the hardest part actually and here we recognize good leaders who are able to motivate their team toward the goal.
7. Planning & Organizing
Not everyone’s favorite part of the job, but it is an essential part of the leadership role –for self as well as others and indeed the entire organizational entity. With good planning and organizing a good leader demonstrates that (s)he is able to think ahead and will achieve the envisioned idea; additionally it gives people confidence in their leader.
8. Growing Others / Team-builder
Maybe one of the best known and quoted aspects of leadership is growing others. A good leader should use every opportunity to coach, evaluate and build self-esteem of his team. If all are not changing and growing, we are going nowhere; but merely maintaining.
There are many dynamics to what professionalism is; it is about how one carries himself, what she models, values, presence, consistency, trust, habits and behaviors… It is about standards of behavior. It is also about the treatment of others, respect, treating people equally, no matter the skin color, diversities involved, religion, and gender. The traits, definitions and interpretations of professionalism are varied; what are yours?
10.Integrity / Ethics
Integrity means doing the right thing, for the right reason, no matter the circumstances. It is one of the crucial traits of a good leader. This there is no doubt – it is about the individual, the leader and the culture.
If you are like most in leadership/management roles, you likely do not have a set of these leadership defining pillars. These are mine which I believe encapsulate all aspects of Leadership growth. Many of the best companies have at least something like this within the halls of HR; but rarely are they really used as a serious developmental tool. At best, they likely only show up during Annual Performance Appraisal end-of-the-year ‘drills’.
If you are in any position of leadership or maybe you are the Top Dog at the Top – you might need such a target for growing you, others and future leadership sustainability.
As I work with helping leaders grow themselves and others, this is one of the first steps – creating a target for the purpose of development, growth, accountability, culture-creation and organizational success long term.
At Booker LEADERSHIP this is the starting point; where we begin creating awareness, focusing and then doing the intentional work with you of changing behavior and practices within leaders and leadership.
Within these 10 dimensions are all the skills, traits, characteristics and practices that make any leader what he/she is.
‘WITHOUT DIRECTION, WE WANDER’