Written by Anna Bernstein on 15 Sep 2014
Many leaders are competent and knowledgeable but few qualify as remarkable . If you want to join the ranks of the best of the best, make sure you embody all these qualities all the time. It isn't easy, but the rewards can be truly phenomenal.
1. Awareness - There is a difference between management and employees, bosses and workers. Leaders understand the nature of this difference and accept it; it informs their image, their actions, and their communication. They conduct themselves in a way that sets them apart from their employees - not in a manner that suggests they are better than others, but in a way that permits them to retain an objective perspective on everything that's going on in their organisation.
2. Decisiveness - All leaders must make tough decisions. It goes with the job. They understand that in certain situations, difficult and timely decisions must be made in the best interests of the entire organisation; decisions that require firmness, authority, and a finality that will not please everyone. Extraordinary leaders don't hesitate in such situations. They also know when not to act unilaterally but instead foster collaborative decision-making.
3. Empathy - Extraordinary leaders praise in public and address problems in private. The best leaders guide employees through challenges, always on the lookout for solutions to foster the long-term success of the organisation. Rather than making things personal, when they encounter problems leaders look for constructive solutions and focus on moving forward.
4. Accountability - Extraordinary leaders take responsibility for everyone's performance, including their own. They follow up on all outstanding issues, check in on employees, and monitor the effectiveness of company policies and procedures. When things are going well, they praise. When problems arise, they identify them quickly, seek solutions, and get things back on track.
5. Confidence - Not only are the best leaders confident, but their confidence is contagious. Employees are naturally drawn to them, seek their advice, and feel more confident as a result. When challenged, they don’t give in too easily, because they know their ideas, opinions and strategies are well-informed and the result of much hard work. But when proven wrong they take responsibility and quickly act to improve the situations within their authority.
6. Optimism - The very best leaders are a source of positive energy. They communicate easily. They are intrinsically helpful and genuinely concerned for other people’s welfare. They always seem to have a solution and always know what to say to inspire and reassure. They avoid personal criticism and pessimistic thinking, and look for ways to gain consensus and get people to work together efficiently and effectively as a team.
7. Honesty - Strong leaders treat people how they want to be treated. They are extremely ethical and believe that honesty, effort, and reliability form the foundation of success. They embody these values so overtly that no employee doubts their integrity for a minute. They share information openly and avoid spin control. Divide and conquer techniques should be left in the 1970’s!
8. Focus - Extraordinary leaders plan ahead and they are supremely organised. They think through
multiple scenarios and the possible impacts of their decisions, while considering viable alternatives and making plans and strategies - all targeted toward success. Once prepared, they establish strategies, processes, and routines so that high performance is tangible, easily defined, and monitored. They communicate their plans to key players and have contingency plans in the event last-minute changes require a new direction (which they often do).
9. Inspiration - Put it all together and what emerges is a picture of the truly inspiring leader: someone who communicates clearly, concisely, and often, and by doing so motivates everyone to give their best all the time. They challenge their people by setting high but attainable standards and expectations, and then giving them the support, tools, training, and latitude to pursue those goals and become the best employees they can possibly be.
10. The footprint or shadow you leave - It’s bringing the other 9 tips together. Great leaders are conscious of the shadow they cast over an organisation whether they are present or not. They are aware of the footprint they leave. Too deep and people feel restricted to be creative and perform; too shallow and they make no impact at all. Authenticity with flexibility is paramount.
To find out more about the leadership development programmes and courses Momenta Performance Academy offer please call us on 020 7374 6600.