Leadership Within – Seven Qualities of Leaders

Last week, I finished the article with a worksheet to reflect on your leadership. What did you learn?

Are you persuasive? Do you think people follow you because they want to?

Leadership is not about being the boss, its about being effective. Many times when I’ve spoken with organizational leaders, it’s the Assistant who is praised for their effectiveness, and their quality of work. Leaders exist in all positions, in all fascets of an organization, and great leaders understand that leaders emerge when they are nurtured to do so. Yet, one of the most misunderstood aspects of leadership, is what qualities create great leaders.

Leadership Qualities

Leaders are not born, they are made. Yes, some leaders have natural characteristics that help them along the journey to be great leaders, however, most of the leadership qualities which inspire and maintain leadership relationships, are most often learned. It is trial an error that creates the right mix of leadership qualities. When you come upon that right blend of skills, the results can be amazing.

Have you ever noticed how certain work units create amazing results consistently, regardless of the challenges they face? This usually occurs because the leaders know how to engage the people around them in a manner which creates voluntary compliance, motivation, a sense of purpose and a belief in the outcomes the leader seeks.

Especially in times of crisis we will see leaders emerge who exemplify outstanding leadership qualities. These leaders often feel personally responsible to do something, rather than acting because it is expected of them. They undertake the efforts necessary to achieve the results they seek. Outcomes which are often not for themselves but, for those who look to the leader for guidance and inspiration, empowerment and acknowledgement.

Leaders who achieve this level of performance emerge through the consistent practice of seven key leadership qualities. These qualities have been expounded in one form or another by leadership facilitators over the last hundred years.  

Leadership Qualities

Envision – The leader possesses the ability to see a ay forward, embrace it, and then communicate it to those around him or her.

Engage – The leader has an ability to bring people together, create effective and manage dialogue, clearly state a desired outcome, and then work to ensure clarity in communication with those around them.

Persuade – The leader creates the energy and momentum that attracts others to the cause, while assuring the team that the destination is worth the work to get there. In law enforcement the term Voluntary Compliance is often used to illustrate that others willing are cooperating with the leader.

Empower
– The leader provides tools, resources, authority and support to those they lead, allowing that person to make the mistakes necessary to learn, use the resources they are provided wisely, and then gets out of the way of those who are trying to be leaders themselves. A great leader should be a great follower.

Exemplify – This leader walks the walk. S/he holds themselves to the same standard of those they lead. They are not above any task or job, nor are they beneath any. They show up, smile and get the job done, even in the face of adversity.

Execute – The leader doesn’t just talk about the end game; they work actively to achieve it. They make lists, love deadlines and push for productivity. The effective executer knows that sometimes you start late, sometimes you start early, but they always start.  

Acknowledge – the leader who acknowledges both the strengths and weaknesses in the team, has the ability to direct and reinforce their resources in a way that allows them to excel as a unit. Great leaders do not shy away from the challenges, they move boldly forward to solve them, understanding that only by addressing challenges can they be solved. They also openly and actively praise the advances their team members make, so that the other members of the team can see the types of behaviours the leader wants to see.

Homework for this week:

Answer the following:

1) What do you do that inspires others to follow you?

2) What are three ways I can provide greater vision to my team?

3) How can I engage my team more effectively in the next seven days?

4) How do I approach challenging topics or issues, are there any ways that I can do this by using different persuasive tools? What tools or strategies do I think are “persuasive”?

5) Do I withhold resources or knowledge, and if so, how can I empower my team by distribute these, in a safe (not going to threaten the organization) way, that allows me to know they are being effectively used?

6) Do I exemplify the behaviours I wish to see mirrored back to e, by my team? Are there any shortcomings I should work on?

7) What project can I complete this week or month, that my team can share in as a celebration?

8) Who has done something praiseworthy recently, that I can acknowledge in a more public setting, (you will need to be specific, and sincere)?

Next week, I’ll discuss “why people leave”