Leadership traits: When leaders lead

I think a lot about leadership. I reflect on leadership traits I see in others and in myself a lot. I cringe when I see poor leadership traits. I cringe even more when I see those traits in a mirror.

In no particular order, I share these reflections with you. Leadership is never as simple as these one sentence reflections. However, I hope that you will find one, today, that works for you and makes you a better leader of yourself, of your team and of the community in which you live.

When leaders lead by being insistent persistent and consistent, they demonstrate their true purpose and others will follow.

When leaders lead in their own image, they lose the benefits of the creativity of their people.

When leaders lead by concentrating on tasks, their personal drive turns into organisational progress towards a goal, but they risk the consequences of disengaged people.

When leaders lead by concentrating on engaging their people, they create harmony in teams and purpose in individuals, but risk that deadlines and milestones are missed.

When leaders lead by sharing who they are with people, they create an environment for greater understanding of what drives them and will gain more empathetic followers.

When leaders lead by giving feedback, they empower people to improve themselves.

When leaders lead by slogans, they miss the enabling detail.

When leaders lead by delegating, giving people the skills and knowledge, time, direction and authority, they significantly increase productivity.

When leaders lead by focusing on the goal of training to transfer learning outcome to the workplace, they significantly increase the return on investment of training expenditure.

When leaders lead by understanding that each individual in their team requires different environmental elements to be present to motivate them, they gain the ability to create discretionary effort across their team.

When leaders lead by valuing diversity in their team and learn to exploit it, innovation and productivity improvements explode in front of their eyes.

When leaders lead by positively differentiating the consequences of value increasing and value destroying behaviours, they will skew the distribution curve significantly towards the value increasing behaviours.

When leaders lead by focusing on the growth of other leaders, they leave their organisation better than when they assumed the leadership.

When leaders lead by being friendly – but not friends – with their team members, they can more easily demonstrate fairness and equality to their whole team.

When leaders lead by focusing on giving their team members purpose, the individual benefits, the team benefits, the organisation benefits and the family and community in which team members live benefits.

When leaders lead by creating the compelling case for change using facts and symbols and emotion, they are likely to create a team willing to give discretionary effort in support of the change.

When leaders lead by being congruent in what they say and what they do, they create trust in their leadership, trust in themselves and elevate the importance of trust in relationships in their team.

When leaders lead by creating a vision and driving towards it by deeply engaging their team, success is undeniable.

When leaders lead by reflecting on their own failings first when confronted by issues of an organisation’s own making, they are more likely to arrive at a long term solution to the issue.

When leaders lead by communicating early and often, when change is occurring, they help their people learn to cope with the uncertainty of change, by enabling them to focus on what they can control – rather than concentrating on unfounded concerns.

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