“Leadership is the art of getting someone to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
My leadership coaching engagements inevitably turn to the definition of leadership. Most of my clients think they have an idea what the term means but their attempts to lead seem to prove them a bit off base. Although I am convinced that leadership is not an intellectual understanding, it is often helpful to get them to think about the characteristics of a good leader.
A real leader is someone who possesses a passionate and powerful vision of what they want to accomplish in their lives – a vision which they then share with as many people as they can. The title of manager is simply a position, but that title in itself does not make the person a real leader. Here are nine steps that every executive should take in order to be the best leader possible.
1. Be a Visionary: If you want people to follow you then you need to make sure that the vision that you possess is clear. Most people will not follow anyone else’s vision if they do not feel confident.
2. Be Passionate: Once you have created a perfect vision, you will need to be able to demonstrate your passion for it. Passion is contagious! A leader who does not demonstrate passion for what they are doing will turn off the troops.
3. Be True: Always show that you have integrity by practicing what you preach. Integrity is simply the act of being the same on the inside as you claim to be on the outside. Set a strong foundation from within. That foundation will support and advance your vision.
4. Be Ready for Action: The corporate world does not reward people for what they know, it rewards people for what they do, and leaders are doers. While making a decision might lead towards failure, the act of failing to make a decision will absolutely guarantee failure.
5. Be a Role Model: Most people learn by watching others. Therefore, to be a great leader should always make sure that you yourself are demonstrating the qualities that you wish your employees and staff to have as well. Your followers will mirror back the qualities that you display towards them.
6. Be a Learner: Great leaders are forever learning. Maximize your growth through constantly learning.
7. Be a Great Communicator: Most executives do not know how to deliver their message in a way that will create a lasting impact on the people who are listening to them. Learn how to communicate effectively by both listening and talking.
8. Be Competent: To be a great leader you will need to be competent in both the business aspects as well as the interpersonal aspects of your position within a company. Learn how to interact well with other people.
9. Be Compassionate: Although this may sound trivial, it is important to become a compassionate leader. People need to feel that you believe in them and truly care about them. This way they will, in turn, believe in you and care about you as well. A compassionate leader also knows that they are not above anyone else and does not treat others as if they were.
Good executive coaching is all about bringing out the best in people. That is also true of good leadership. If you want to learn more about my approach to coaching, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II