While working with an organization’s board of directors recently we discussed the components of great leadership. Many ideas were expressed and it was an amazing experience discovering the differences and the commonalities between everyone’s views. In the end three traits stood out.
Great leaders have a strong vision. Their vision of where they see the enterprise is what drives their actions. A clear vision makes it easier for others within the organization to know where they are going.
The best leaders create a very compelling vision. The vision is so strong that it attracts other people to it. When your vision is clear and powerful people from within and from outside of your organization will want to be a part of making that vision a reality. It is this powerful vision that is part of the naturally charismatic appeal that most great leaders seem to possess.
I recently saw a television show where the CEO of the company went under cover and worked on the front line. Not only did he learn all about the demanding jobs that his employees excelled at, he had the opportunity to speak with and connect to many people in the company. He learned about their personal lives and the goals they had. Upon returning to the C-Suite this CEO took steps to help the people he worked with realize their dreams. He paid $5,000.00 to sponsor a youth sports team. He gave $10,000.00 to help pay for someone’s wedding. He put one employee in a management training program and “fast tracked” that person within the company.
Great leaders look to serve others. Only by helping other people around us achieve their goals can we ever expect someone to help us achieve our goals.
It wouldn’t be an article about great leaders and developing proven leadership skills if we didn’t talk about accountability. Ultimately great leaders fully understand what they are accountable for and make sure that they execute on their accountabilities. They realize that they are accountable to do the right things consistently, manage their space, manage the process, establish the right expectations and contribute to their relationships. Great leaders are focused and don’t make excuses when events do not turn out as planned.
I learned long ago that possessing only one of these traits will not carry an individual. To truly excel as a great leader and to develop the leadership skills necessary to drive organizational growth we must master all three traits and live them on a daily basis. Then, we grow as individuals and we are in a position to lead the growth of the enterprise.