Leaders cannot be passive. Direction must be given. The needs, wants, thoughts of the leader must be known and asserted. Leaders need not be aggressive. They must, however, have the full range of assertive skills: ranging from basic assertion of their needs through to consequence assertion when their needs are not being met.
Those who are in a leadership position take accountability for their actions and the actions of those they lead. People who influence groups to take group decisions and hide behind the group decision are politicians, not leaders. So are leaders who delegate responsibility for making a decision and do not take accountability for the ability of the person so delegated to make the decision. Leaders acknowledge their mistakes freely, safe in the knowledge of what they have learnt.
Leaders think. They acknowledge they are making assumptions when they make them and that they are considering opinion rather than dress it up as a fact. They do not apply business models from other industries or businesses without considering whether their external operating environment, strengths and weaknesses are or can be made to be similar. They do not use buzzwords without knowing what they mean. They do not use buzzwords without how implementing them will affect their operation, in detail.
Leaders are genuine. They do not assume a persona from the dust cover of the latest business guru book. They do not copy others’ traits and habits in vain hope that looking like a leader will make them a leader. They are happy with who they are, warts and all. They are not, and do not have to be, a copy of Jack Welch.
Leaders share. Leaders share the glory of success. They see equity, not as a democratic ideal, but as part of what it means to be fair. They recognise that people need to feel valued to be motivated. They also share the workload and authority, understanding that independence and achievement is a strong reward.
Leaders have high energy. Leaders will work through to three in the morning to meet a deadline. Leaders do not get upset or fazed by problems. Rather, problems become opportunities to solve the problem. Leaders understand what is important, not just what is urgent.
Leaders are persistent and resilient. They set a goal, devise a strategy and execute the strategy. The strategy is changed consciously. The strategy is not changed unconsciously by reactive decisions. They do not allow their mood or the mood of their subordinates to change what they assert.