During the early years of my life, I was surrounded by command and control leaders. They were everywhere! Think about it. You probably experienced it too. Your parents, older siblings, teachers, instructors and coaches telling you what to do and how to do it. I’m not suggesting it was a bad thing. In fact, being a rather rebellious child and youth, I responded best to command and control leadership styles – thank you Dad, Father Weber, Coach Sye and Mr. Harper!
As adults, our personalities are fully developed. We’re baked. This may change somewhat with a significant life event like a divorce or death of a loved one. However, what motivates one person may be completely different than what moves another. As leaders, it’s our job to understand how others are wired and inspired – personally and professionally – and help unleash their full potential. It’s a mindset shift for many, and it starts by asking rather than telling.
We’ve all read countless books, articles and posts highlighting successful leadership characteristics. Although many of these traits are similar from article to article, I inevitably take away something from each one. As I coach and mentor others to become more effective leaders, I continually reinforce best practices that help enhance communication, critical thinking and decision making skills.
Leadership may come more naturally to some over others, but it is learned. Also, being an effective leader doesn’t necessarily mean you have a title. How often have we seen individuals from the ranks inspire and motivate others based on their words and actions? Sustained leadership comes from an intentional practice to relate to and inspire others ultimately enabling them to stretch, grow and contribute to a greater cause.
Desired traits or attributes that I hear from owners, board members and senior leaders as they look to identify and develop the next generation of leaders include:
· Leads by Example. Practices what is Preached. Walks the Talk.
· Over Communicates. Starts with Why. Continually Articulates Vision and Outcomes.
· Visionary. Thought Leader. Passionate. Inspirational. Change Agent.
· Creates a Safe, Trusting and Learning Culture. Encourages Healthy Debate, Feedback, Collaboration and Calculated Risk Taking.
· Identifies and Develops Talent. Coaches to Potential.
· Great Listener. Curious. Seeks to Understand. Empathetic.
· Leverages Systems that Help Drive Strategy. Aligns with CEO Agenda.
· Proven Ability to Execute. Translates Strategy into Results. Holds all Accountable, Beginning with Him/Herself. Performance Driven. Loves to Win.
Who in your organization can you help unleash further potential?