Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. The position or function of a leader: a person who guides or directs a group.
Synonyms include: administration, management, influence, effectiveness, sway, clout, guidance, direction.
“Bossy, doesn’t work well with others” was how every report card of mine read from third grade until eighth. What we do with those traits is up to us. I learned to listen – that was the biggest change I made. I also learned that I don’t have all the answers and that I can learn wonderful things from other people. That was the turning point for me.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”
― Dolly Parton
Ken Makovsky, President of Makosvsky, Midsize PR Agency of the Year 2012 contributed this article from Forbes.
“What Makes a Good Leader?
A humble boss, or an egotistical boss?
A new study from the University of Buffalo has shown that, compared to egotistical bosses, humble bosses:
- lead by example
- admit their mistakes
- recognize their followers’ strengths.
The researchers found that these three behaviors are powerful predictors of company growth. Moreover, humility has also been found to foster more learning-oriented teams, more engaged staff and lower employee turnover.
By humble, I don’t mean insignificant or inferior. I mean being modest and respectful of the people with whom these leaders work.
I really like what Nancy Clark, author of “18 Holes for Leadership,” says are the top five characteristics of a good leader:
- Genuine. Be clear on what your values are and be consistent in applying them. As part of that, you need to have the courage to hold true to them. You must not lose sight of reality. Lost values may be one of the biggest causes of leadership downfalls.
- Self-awareness. Be clear on what your strengths are and what complementary strengths you need from others. This includes understanding others and learning how best to utilize their strengths. Many unsophisticated leaders think everyone should be like them; that too can cause their downfall. They surround themselves with people like them. “Group think” can blindside them and cause failure.
- Leverage team strengths. Part of self-awareness is realizing that you can’t change someone, even yourself, behaviorally. If you think you can change someone, think again. Understanding your team’s strengths and placing those individuals in positions that allow those strengths to shine will drive the entire team, including you, to success. If you are good at that, you have a huge part of the equation for success as a leader.
- Leadership transitions. Going from individual contributor to supervisor is only the first of many transitions along the leadership pipeline. You need to understand the business model, how it applies to your current position, what you need to do to provide the greatest value, and how to leverage your strengths at this level. This requires building competencies and focusing on the right things. No one ever tells you that there are many levels and many adjustments you need to make along the way.
- Supportive. Fostering a positive environment and aligning the reward and recognition systems that best match your team’s profile allows your team to flourish.
“The key to successful leadership is influence*, not authority.” (*link back to Influence post)
― Kenneth H. Blanchard