In my own experience, GOOD LEADERS:
- Have knowledge of what they are leading.
- Create a broad vision of what they see for the future of their business or project. They have the ability to imagine. As Martin Luther King stated, “I have a dream.” Our dreamers and visionaries are the ones who push us to do what we would never dare try without them.
- Have the ability to select appropriate people to help them. Leaders know how to include others. You can inspire until the cows come home, but if the people you inspire don’t have the skills needed to get the job done, then where are you?
- Have great communication skills – both written and verbal. When you are communicating a great vision or a huge goal, it’s important to be able to break it down into small parts, to write and to share that vision with an economy of words (obviously, a challenge for me!).
- Are good listeners – good leaders use the active art of listening to learn and gain knowledge, then they take that knowledge and use it to make decisions.
- Have the grace to recognize others for a job well done, to show appreciation for their knowledge and skills.
- Are humble – good leaders know they didn’t acquire their position by themselves. Leaders lead. They take charge. But good leaders also recognize they can’t do anything alone. They have the humility to admit they need help and then they recognize the ones who helped them.
- Are accountable; they take responsibility for the results of an action – good or bad.
- Are decision-makers. Good leaders know where the buck stops – with them. At the end of the day or the end of a discussion they will make a decision.
- Show up; good leaders are fully and completely ‘present’ in mind, body and spirit.
Leaders need to:
- Look the part; pay attention to how you present yourself. A slovenly leader induces a slovenly work group and work product.
- Be a servant leader; remember where you came from, have the willingness to help with the ‘dirty work’.
- Be approachable; if associates can’t come to you, then who?
- Be a constant learner; no one has all the answers.
- Listen, listen, listen – you just might learn something!
- Be action-oriented when needed. Courage to act is critical.
- Be a truth teller; recognize your own truth and the truths of others.
- Be dependable. Do what you say you will do. Dependable leaders are those who can be trusted.