LEAD With Conviction

Those who misinterpret the role of leader often feel that exerting power over others is its purpose but that hypothesis has been revealed to be false. The most effective leaders recognize that the quality of leadership is greatly enhanced when they are liked and respected by those in the organization and/or on their team.

Bill George, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North (2007), encourages leaders to empower those whom they lead.  He asserts that the most empowering condition is when organization members align around a goal or mission and team member passions and purposes are complementary and synchronized.

Leadership Development expert Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0  (with Jean Greaves, 2009), says that leadership is about emotional intelligence and that it is a flexible skill that can be improved with effort. Here are the behaviors and attributes that successful leaders develop and cultivate.

Form personal connections

The best leaders know that a successful life is built on good, mutually beneficial relationships. A true leader is not afraid to extend him/herself and get to know the people whom s/he leads, as well as others. Good leaders may be introverts or extroverts,  but they nevertheless enjoy connecting with people. They focus on the person/people with whom they are speaking and have personal conversations. They care and those they lead know this to be true.

Be approachable

Good leaders know how to maintain boundaries and still make it possible for others to reach out and talk with them. They believe that those whom they lead are valuable and worth their time.
Have integrity

Good leaders keep their word, to the very best of their ability. They do not say one thing and then do another. They respect those whom they lead.

Have substance

Leaders understand that expertise is necessary, the foundation of their stepping into the leadership role. They rose to the top because they possess superior knowledge and expertise and they are masters at leveraging it.

Be positive

Leaders encourage those on their team to be the best they can be. They believe in the abilities of those on their team or in the organization. They have faith in the vision and mission of the organization and communicate their enthusiasm for achieving the goals that express and promote them.

Be generous

Leaders share.  A superior leader gives those on the team the tools they need to achieve success. They support and encourage people.   Leaders empower, they do not micromanage.

Recognize and appreciate potential

Leaders are able to spot talent and they are willing to help you to develop and leverage yours.  A leader aspires to recommend you to a position where your strongest talents and competencies can be utilized and rewarded, so that you will operate at your best and derive satisfaction as you do.

Be humble

Arrogance and braggadocio are not signs of leadership and that includes the “humble brag”.  Leaders are usually quite happy to lead, but they are aware that leadership is about accountability and responsibility and not an excuse to boss others around.

Communicate well

Whether standing before a large group or chatting over coffee with one or two team members, leaders both have something to say and listen well. They are well-spoken and fluent writers, as well. They are usually good story tellers. Many leaders have a background in sales.

Good judgment

As the song says, you’ve got to know when to hold and know when to fold. Judgment entails many competencies, including the ability to prioritize.  Leaders are good decision-makers and they are guided by their personal integrity; respect for their team and the organization; expertise in their field; and understanding of human nature and motivations.

Former political adviser and CNN political commentator and currently a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University David Gergen, author of Eyewitness to Power (2000) writes, “At the heart of leadership is the leader’s relationship with followers. People will entrust their hopes and dreams to another person only if they think the other person is a reliable vessel”.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

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