Are you the Leader you want to be?

July 7, 2016

Let me ask it another way; are you really as good a Leader as you think you are?

As we move into summer, it seems a good time to ask ourselves some deep questions that may not be contemplated during the frenzy of the rest of the year. What type of Leaders do we want to be? How do our employees actually see us? Do we really want to know? Are we afraid that we could stand some improvement?

Do we ever get objective data on ourselves as leaders from people who would be “in the know”, or just assume that we are greatly admired? While there are many excellent books and articles written about leadership and how to be a top-notch leader, let us consider a few keys attributes that are associated with good leadership:
  • Honesty, Openness & Integrity
While I understand that this is open to interpretation i.e. what is honesty? What is integrity? I want you to ask your employees how they perceive you. The results may surprise you. You can use consultants or some other anonymous way of gathering the information. In the business setting it matters less about what you think about yourself and it matters more what your own employees think about you. Why are these traits important? Employees will not stay with a company where they perceive the top leader or leaders as being not open and honest. If they perceive you as being dishonest and lacking in integrity, it will impact the quality of new employees you can hire. We can assume in today’s interconnected world everyone knows everything. For the existing employees, having leaders who are not displaying these attributes, creates a working environment where employees do not want to stay, or stay but are not fully committed.
  • Decisiveness & Results Driven
Great leaders adapt to changing circumstances. They move forward and make timely decisions. It is important to the company that you make the best decisions you can, with the information and data you have, and move forward. Very few decisions are irrevocable, but know which ones those are. By nature, people want to accomplish things and move towards a goal that is bigger than themselves or their particular job. Ensure that every job has goals and that the people in those jobs can be successful in meeting those goals. Additionally have their goals tied into the larger company goals to give them meaning. Are you doing that today? Are you helping everyone be results driven?
  • Inspiring, Motivational & Communicative
There are leaders who are uninspiring and non communicative. I do not think they mean to come across this way, I think they have forgotten that they need to be outward facing some of the time in order for the troops to know what is going on. There is a difference between keeping things confidential versus being secretive. For most businesses it is unnecessary to keep everything under wraps. For your employees sharing is the name of the game. Ask yourself every morning what can you do to motivate or inspire even one person to be the best that they can be. Does everyone understand the Vision and how he or she is moving in that direction? Be inspiring, be motivational, but above it all communicate, communicate and communicate!

If you believe that you have mastered these areas and consistently apply them in the workplace, then BRAVO, you are that rare individual! However, if you have a sneaking suspicion that you could use a gentle reminder, or perhaps a kick in the pants, about your leadership skills, then get some objective feedback and do some coaching. Remember that leaders, particularly if you are one of the KEY leaders, have an enormous influence on how the organization behaves and ultimately influence whether the business is, or will be, successful or not.

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