I often talk to my clients about creating a strong and clear blueprint to successfully change behaviours and build effective leadership. If you were to build a house, you would always begin with a blueprint. This contains more than the directions on how to build a house. It also describes the finished product or the outcomes you want to achieve.
So, if you want to build great leaders in your team, start by having a blueprint of the characteristics that will have a lasting positive impact on your business.
Last month I asked an audience of leaders to describe the characteristics of an ideal leader. Their answers, in no particular order, were:
- A good listener,
- shows appreciation,
- a visionary,
- a role model,
- is trusting,
- acts with integrity,
- is organised,
- is knowledgeable,
- is credible,
- is persuasive,
- has charisma,
- a great team builder,
- gives clarity of purpose,
- is a problem solver,
- has an attitude of service,
- leads by example,
- is patient,
- willing to act without complete knowledge,
- a decision maker,
- understands their followers,
- is consistent,
- empowers other people, and
- adapts to change.
From this comes we can draw some useful insights.
1) Notice what the list contains.
All of these characteristics relate to the human side of leadership. often hear people minimise this side of leadership with terms like “soft” or “touchy feely” skills or characteristics. When actually, applying these characteristics requires more strength than not.
2) Notice what the list excludes.
Absent from this list are characteristics such as stern, serious, short tempered, vindictive, tough, angry, harsh, punitive, controlling, violent, or ruthless. How many popular representations of leadership emphasise at least one of these “hard” characteristics? In fact, these characteristics are the refuge of those who lack the strength (or the skills) to apply the human side of leadership.
3) Notice which characteristics you display.
How would you rate yourself as a leader compared to the list of positive characteristics? If you were to survey the people who report to you, how would they describe your leadership? Would they list characteristics from the “soft” list or from the “hard” list? Could you become a more effective role model by improving upon any of the “soft” characteristics? And how about the other leaders in your organisation? Do they truly maximise human potential?
People want leaders who treat them with genuine compassion, courtesy, and respect. They want leaders who help them become more successful. They want leaders who inspire them with a vision for a better world and show them how to go there.
You will only get the best out of your people if you give them the best of yourself. So next time you are faced with a deadline and the pressure is on, stop, think, and reflect on the type of leader you are now and on what you are teaching the leaders of the future.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
If you have ideas around company culture or leadership then please share them in the comments section below and get the conversation started. Thanks!