Leadership is passion and focus. But instead of the term leadership, let’s use the verb form “leading,” because we’re talking about actions.
The noted leadership authority John C. Maxwell says that the key to effective leading is to use a position’s influence, not its authority. Effective leaders encourage people to think for themselves, engage employees by teaching them how to follow-through on their initiative, and inspire confidence to try new things.
Leadership is not about position. Its about action.
Good leaders foresee the results of their decisions and understand the consequences. They take responsibility for their actions and those of their team. Their activities are intentional and deliberate: they do what they say they’ll do. They possess self-control and self-discipline and respond to others thoughtfully and considerately.
Most important, good leaders develop other good leaders. Imagine the value you’d add to your company if everyone who works for you were encouraged to develop the traits shared by good leaders, such as these:
- Confidence, inner strength, and humility
- Clear and proactive communication
- Asking questions and listening to the answers
- Basing relationships on understanding other people
- Including and involving others
- Seeing the big picture
- Always putting the team first
- Creating a dialogue with others, such as, “When will you have…?” “What ideas do you have regarding or “What options do we have in solving this challenge?”
- Being self-driven
- Having an equal ratio of commitment and follow-through
- Balancing logic and emotion
- Taking ownership of problems and challenges
- Teaching people to think and look for solutions
- Having an abundance mentality
Now, compare those traits with these traits of bad leaders.
- Stubbornness, paranoia, and fear
- Making promises and not delivering on them
- Talking too much
- Expecting others to read minds
- Disparaging the ideas of others
- Blaming others for problems, throwing people under the bus
- Making relationships transactional: “I need you to do this for me.”
- Thinking about the here and now without considering tomorrow
- Living on emotion: being a diva.
- Selfishness in actions and thoughts
- Telling others what to do or offering no direction at all
- Foisting work and blame onto others
- Having a scarcity mentality
- Expecting others to motivate them
Now, your company certainly has positions that require great leadership, but leadership doesn’t automatically come with the job. Leadership must be developed and nurtured, the leader must be intentional about developing their leadership skill. This means that the company should define the leadership traits required for every position. After all, you want everyone to model these leadership traits.
If the company wants every employee to have certain traits, it needs to put processes in place that will do that. It needs to develop and nurture talent.
To recap, effective leaders encourage people to think for themselves, engage employees by teaching them how to follow-through on their initiative, and inspire confidence to try new things. What’s more, leadership must be developed and nurtured.
We’d love to hear from you. What are the leadership traits that many people model in your company? Thank you for sharing.
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