Great leadership is the display of a combination of tools, skills and behaviors. It isn’t the result of position power or personality. Consequently, it can be learned and demonstrated.
Think of the great leaders you’ve known. I’ll bet they demonstrated most if not all of these skills.
Here’s my list of the top tools, skills and behaviors.
Great leaders set high standards for themselves and the people around them. They expect people to ‘step up’ in ways they may not even believe they can. They require exemplary behavior and thinking. They inspire others to perform at the highest levels possible.
Honest, authentic communication is the hallmark of a great leader. They are able to express difficult sentiments, communicate expectations and let people know how they are performing vis-a-vis the expectations while leaving those people empowered and ready to forge ahead.
Rewards are great for creating external motivation for achieving goals. Effective leaders understand the unique values and priorities of the people around them and custom tailor rewards to activate the intrinsic desires that make people perform and excel.
When great leaders encounter inappropriate behavior, they don’ t stick their head in the sand and ignore it. They stamp it out – quickly and decisively. They are swift in their response to restate expectations and request those expectations be met. This creates and a sense of fairness on the team and credibility for the leader.
John C. Maxwell is often quoted as saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” When leaders go out of their way to demonstrate their humanity, empathy and concern for others, they create an ultra-strong bond with the people around them.
Great leaders have an unwavering belief in the potential of people. They assume people want to excel and just need pathways, resources and the confidence to express their excellence.
Regardless of where you are in an organization’s hierarchy, you can practice using these tools and behaviors thereby enhancing your effectiveness as a leader.