There are many varying perspectives on what great leadership is, the traits necessary for being an effective leader and how to build winning teams. While conducting research for my new book about what the future of leadership development will look like, I have conducted many interviews and gathered the perspectives of many people in leadership and management positions across many different organizations and industries.
I have found that there is a general consensus on the qualities necessary for leading and building successful teams of accountable people, but very little agreement on the programs required for leadership development. Senior leaders must first define their own path for constant improvement in order to create a culture of leadership designed to achieve better results.
In the third article of this three part series I share ten more perspectives on great leadership followed by my theories on how leadership development may need to evolve in today’s complex business environments.
1 – Recognize Talent
“Great leaders recognize individual talents of team members and understand how each member is motivated. Once that is understood a leader can build customized measurable goals for each employee’s contributions. This creates a proficient workflow and helps employees find a deeper level of job satisfaction.”
2 – Win the Hearts of People
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“A great leader is a person that shares a common goal with the people he or she is leading. Win the hearts of the people you are leading and the possibilities are endless. You inspire people; not train them to achieve success.”
3 – Push the Limits
“Push the limits and see what happens. I am a firm believer that you should push yourself and others to do more than just the standard. One way I do this is by always looking for new ways to impact, revolutionize and come up with creative ways to solve problems in order to deliver an engaging experience for clients. Ultimately this is how we exceed expectations where most companies fall short.”
4 – Lead by Example
“It’s important to demonstrate the same level of personal commitment in your own actions as you expect from the rest of your team. It’s not enough to simply delegate tasks; leaders have to show that they’re committed to working as hard and as long as everyone else. In addition to providing an easy-to-follow model of just what’s expected from the team, leading by example inspires great respect, trust, and confidence in the leader. This contributes to the success of the entire team and makes the leader a person who others are proud to follow.”
5 – Have a Compassionate Heart
“A mind full of wisdom, united with a compassionate heart are the foremost qualities of not only a great leader, but an exceptional human being who can truly guide others towards the realization of the ultimate aim of human life. When these two higher states of consciousness awaken inside each one of us the organic outcome is a deep and profound kindness towards all living beings and a penetrating insight into the natural laws that govern life. In this way, when an enlightened leader inspires and influences others all their thoughts, words and actions are charged, not with self-interest, but with a power that envisions the highest welfare of each individual and humanity as a whole.”
6 – Build Teams of Trusted Advisors
“If you are talking to a CEO and he turns out to be the dumbest person in the boardroom, then you know you are talking to a great leader. Be humble, spend time to find your A+ players.”
7 – Have a Clear Vision
“A great leader leads by example. They set the tone by their work rate and dependability. They have a clear vision and the ability to enact change to meet their goals. Finally, they need to persevere and remain calm during times of stress.”
8 – Show Enthusiasm and Charisma
“A great leader is someone that is visionary, disciplined, intelligent and decisive. A great leader is effective because he or she influences and motivates others to work together on a common goal and purpose, despite differences of opinion. Great leaders are intuitive, charismatic, and passionate about their objectives and able to articulate why their work matters. Through their enthusiasm, they are able to inspire others to deliver the results they want.”
9 – Educate, Motivate, and Delegate
“There are five characteristics that make a good leader and those are the ability to: educate, motivate, delegate, empower, and provide a vision. A good leader should be able to educate his subordinates so that they have the ability to work independently and step into situations that may develop. A good leader should also be able to motivate the team to push ahead both in good times and in bad times so the goals and the vision are not lost. Additionally, a good leader should be able to both delegate tasks so that productivity is kept consistent and empower staff to make decisions so the employees have a stake the outcome and even assist determining possible successors. Finally, a good leader should be able to provide a vision for where the company is heading in such a way that people can buy into that vision.”
10 – Embody Passion for the Mission
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“A great leader is passionate, collaborative, and authentic. Without passion, a leader will struggle to enlist the aid of others in pursuit of a mission. Great leaders don’t sit on high and bark orders; they roll up their sleeves and work alongside their people. Leaders who lack integrity and authenticity are unable to inspire and recruit others and find their tenure short-lived.”
It is easy to see the correlations between these perspectives that point towards empathy, passion, accountability and a the ability to clearly articulate the mission and vision. You can learn more about my own perspectives on leadership by downloading my free Ebooks.
But how does one maintain consistent focus on improving themselves and those around them? In my experience, I have found that workshops and leadership development programs alone are not sufficient nor do they result in developing leaders quickly enough. To create a winning team environment and culture based on accountability, leaders must create experiences that nurture constant improvement for themselves and their team.
Highly focused feedback and accountability partners are the key. So what dos this look like? Any team or organization can accomplish this in several ways. First, select three areas you want to improve upon and write them down. Next, select five or six people from withing and outside of the organization to be accountability partners. Those from within the organization should be a mix of people at different levels of hierarchy. Then explain your goals and where you want to improve so they know what to look for. Finally, schedule regular check-ins so they can provide focused feedback. Consistency is key and this process should be a constant evolution.
Give it a try! What do you have to lose?
Brent Gleeson is a Navy SEAL motivational keynote speaker and leadership consultant. Follow Brent on Twitter at @BrentGleeson or view his website at www.brentgleesonspeaker.com.
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