There are a lot of people I admire out there who have good values, strong morals and contribute to society. Within that group I have personally observed four individuals who stand out as leaders and movers. These are my observations of their leadership behaviors.
…are not ashamed of their opinions.
…are not too proud to change their opinions.
…attract a following without gimmicks.
…confront people when necessary.
…make a decision based on team feedback.
…don’t leave outcomes to chance.
…communicate to understand and learn.
…roll up their sleeves and work hard.
…know when to let go and when to hold on.
…give credit where credit is due.
…are not afraid of pain.
The most successful leaders I know are leaders because they have their opinions and values, and they stick to them. It’s these opinions and values that have caused people to follow them, even if their opinions are unpopular.
These same leaders have enough humility to recognize a clearer or better path and abandon ideas and efforts that aren’t working. They realize there’s no point in finishing something that doesn’t benefit anybody.
Leaders create change and influence people, and they do it without smoke and mirrors. They reach out and help others, they inspire and teach, and they contribute to society and groups. They do this not for self glory and praise, but because they genuinely want others to succeed.
When someone’s performance is poor, or they’re not contributing to the team, or they’re holding the team back, a leader (hopefully tactfully) confronts those people and either helps them to change or if necessary removes them from the process. To quote Ed Catmull, president of Pixar, “…if they can’t lead the team, we will remove the person from it; it’s hard because it’s a personal thing. Until you reach that breaking point, you have to do everything you can, sometimes its adding people to the team, sometimes its removing them.”
A leader knows when to let his team make the final decision and when to make the final decision himself. And when the team makes the decision, he fully supports it and accepts the consequences.
They create opportunities and forge their own paths with what’s given them. They never lay down unprepared and wait for the floods to come.
They connect with their teams on a personal level. They know their team’s names, their strengths, and their weaknesses. They know how to motivate them and also annoy them. And most importantly, because they know their team they know how to motivate them to create inspired results.
They do this because it builds trust and rapport, and because they value hard work. Leaders know that the best way to understand their team is to be a part of the team.
Leaders can let a good thing go if necessary, even when it hurts. They can perceive the difference between good and bad, and even when they make a mistake, they can admit it.
They realize that teamwork isn’t about them. It’s about the team and making sure recognition is given to those who deserve it. Their leadership skills are evident from the team’s success. Leaders do not gloat and seek praise.
Even when it turns people away. Leaders aren’t trying to please everyone. You can always count on them to be honest with you.
Leaders don’t run when away from necessary pain. They grow from it, get through it, and come out on top. They don’t mindlessly seek pain either.
We all admire leaders for their different skills, and it’s obvious that what works for one will not always work for another. What’s important is that we focus on the traits that really make them stand out inspire us. So now, it’s your turn. What leadership traits do you admire?