November 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm #173905
We are all leaders. At some point in our careers and even personal lives, we have the opportunity to lead. But what makes us successful leaders? There are countless articles, whitepapers, books, and journals of what a good leader looks like. In your experience, what do you think are the top 3 traits of a good leader?
November 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm #173909
1. Purpose Driven – Good leaders understand the organization they lead was formed to fill a need or achieve a goal and failure to do so negates any other accomplishments.
2. Accepts Responability – Good leaders recognize they were put in their position to lead, not pass responsibility to their boss or peers or customers or subordinates. They seek input from all of these but know when to step up, end discussion, make decisions, assign tasks and move the organization forward.
3. Decisive – Good leaders know the difference between carefully weighing all options & careful planning and vacillating & paralysis by analysis. They do not rush decisions; but they do not hide from them either and once made, do not subject themselves or their staffs to repeated second guessing.
December 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm #173907
1) Great explainer: You can’t lead unless others follow, and others either won’t follow or can’t follow effectively and supportively unless they know what the hell you want from them and what purpose it serves. I concur with Peter’s assertion that being purpose-driven is important, but a purpose-driven leader surrounded by folks muttering “Do YOU know what she/he is talking about, because I sure don’t?” doesn’t get a whole lot done.
2) Courageous: Courage can be expressed in many ways. We normally think of courage in terms of taking assertive risks. But it takes courage to face your mistakes, and say “I’m sorry. I goofed.”. It takes courage to spend some time talking to your staff on their turf instead of going to yet another management meeting. It takes courage to show weakness, or concern. It takes courage to stand up to bullies on behalf of your staff. It takes courage to resist change you feel may be detrimental to your work unit, your organization, or your staff. And as much as we hate to admit it and wish it never came to that, it takes courage to do the right thing.
3) Strategic thinking: Planning things out over different time-arcs. Having a Plan B. Thinking things through, and considering all implications and possibilities/leverages/forfeitures, rather than just having “bright ideas”. Delegating effectively and making wise use of resources and human capital. Personally I link this with #1, in that a big part of strategic thinking is bringing people on-side, and a big part of doing that involves getting them to understand the plan thoroughly so that they can operate independently in co-ordinated fashion. And, of course, trusting your people to pursue the same strategic vision you had, without micro-managing them involves a certain amount of courage, doesn’t it?
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