Being a Great Leader

The other day someone asked what it would take to exhibit “great leadership.” The following is the answer that I provided:

I think we need to first define “Leadership” before we can even define what “great” Leadership means. Unfortunately there are a lot of definitions and meanings out there about what Leadership is. After more than 8 years of research on the subject and over 1000 research documents, I define Leadership as “creating emotional connections in others in order to accomplish goals.”

Leadership, as I’ve defined it above, is one of the Seven Elements of High Performance™. If we turn to that model, then we will discover what things are necessary to be a “great” Leader. Since we’ve already defined Leadership, we have six remaining elements to learn from, so let’s take a look at them.

1. Put People (not profits, promotions, sales, or other criteria) at the Center of everything you do. As you work on each of the other Elements below and put them into action make sure they are all focused on this central element. This is pretty simple, yet, for so many, so hard to do.

2. Build Trust by exhibiting the Four Behaviors that Build Trust™ (Straightforwardness, Openness, Acceptance, and Reliability). Ask the same from others.

3. Encourage Personal Responsibility by allowing others to make decisions about their lives and their jobs. You don’t have to have all the answers, just ask the right questions. Accept the consequences for the decisions that you make and do not pass them off on others. Exercise your Personal Power and do not steal from others their Personal Power.

4. Have a strong Vision of an aligned Purpose, Values, and Goals. You need to first understand your personal Vision, and then understand and share the organization’s Vision with those you lead. After all, this IS where you are making that emotional connection in others. Purpose is about “why we exist” and can be a powerful motivator. Values put the boundary on our behaviors as we work to achieve our Goals. And Goals are our long-term objectives that will help us achieve our Purpose. Also, make sure your personal Vision is in alignment with the organization’s Vision. If not, then you will probably not be successful in getting others connected to the Vision of the organization because it is not something you can connect with.

5. Focus on Strengths and Accentuate the Positive. Help others grow where their strengths are. Make sure they are in positions that will allow them to use their strengths most of the time. Help them to become masters at their jobs by leveraging those strengths. Let people know how good they are and how important they are to the group’s success and don’t harp on the negative all the time (which is what most managers do). Make most of your interactions with people good interactions.

6. Encourage Innovation, because good enough is not enough. Keep pushing to be better and challenge others to find better ways of doing things. Reward creativity and don’t punish failure, because failure can uncover hidden issues and eventually lead to success. Make sure you understand the processes of your operation and try to make them better.

Those are just a few short items under each of the elements. To learn more about the Seven Elements of High Performance™, you can start on our website where we have information about the research, whitepapers, and other materials for your review, or continue to read the articles on this blogsite.  

Make a Great Day!