I sure wish there was a recipe for creating leaders that worked on everyone and could be used all the time, every time. Kind of like a magic potion.
Oh, wait! On second thought, making all leaders the same would be a terrible idea. Could you imagine 100 or even a 1000 TJ Trent cookie cutter leaders? They all would have the same strengths, and even worse, weaknesses. They would make everyone go nuts!
For sure, we do not want cookie cutter leaders. We do need, leaders within our ranks that posses certain attributes or qualities. These qualities facilitate trust, learning, and growth.
Over the last ten and a half years, I have encountered many leaders. As you can imagine, some were great, some were okay, and others just sucked down oxygen. The good news is, I was able to learn from all of them. Looking back, I realized the “real” leaders (the most influential amongst their troops, peers, and superiors) all possessed the same basic attributes:
1. No Excuses.
Tip: Take responsibility. Leaders give away praise and accept all blame. Excuses come in two forms those we tell ourselves and those we give to others.
What excuse do you give yourself? What excuses do you give others?
2. No Double Standards.
Tip: In other words, practice what you preach. If you say one thing, and practice another, you lose credibility. By setting a good example, you demonstrate and motivate those around you. Leadership is living your beliefs, not just talking about them.
From the cradle to the grave, Soldiers, students, employees, and even little children learn what is appropriate and acceptable behaviors by observing those who are in charge. If the boss is doing it, it must be important.
3. Fudging the Issue.
Tip: Leaders don’t lie! Always tell me the truth no matter how bad. I can accept the truth but I will never accept lies from leaders. If you lie eventually your team will think its okay to lie.
4. No Illusions.
Tip: In the words of a mentor, Dr. Tyree Toliver, ”Look them on the eyeball and tell them the naked truth.” The truth combined with hope is a powerful tool. In the Armed services certain situations require us from divulging information. In those instances tell your teams as much as you can, legally.
5. No Limits.
Tip: Leaders think big, dream big, and act big. They are more comfortable outside the box than inside.
Thinking affects attitude, attitude affect behavior, behavior affects the outcome. You are only limited by your thinking.
Would you like to add additional attributes to the list? Have you been personally impacted by leaders without these qualities?