Leadership challenge for today.. How to become a Real Leader

On a scale of 1-10, how good of a leader would you rate yourself? Now ask yourself the question; “Why”?

Here’s the bigger test.. are you willing to put the same question to your team? Ask them to share with you (in their opinion) your top 5 characteristics that most influence or define your leadership style. Ask them to be honest, and the answers can be either areas where you excel.. or for improvement.

A recent series of events this week triggered this post; (a) the tweet by ihatequotes; “Inspiration = The PULL. Motivation = The PUSH. Inspiration + Motivation = The FUEL” & (b) the blog article by Dan McCarthy entitled Striving To Be A Real Leader.

16 Defining Considerations
  1. Your Choice To Take On The Pressure; Are you reacting to the events in your life, or taking-it-all-in to then apply the best measured approach appropriate for the situation?
  2. Your Choice To Be Accountable When Things Go Wrong; Are you standing up & taking responsibility for your actions (including assumptions) or are you blaming it on someone else? Bonus points for “being truly honest”!
  3. Your Choice To Accept That You Will Make Mistakes; Are you willing to take, and or look at, the lessons from each mistake to make the appropriate adjustments moving forward?
  4. Your Choice To Do What Is Right; You need no more than 4-6, but have you established.. and I mean gone through the exercise, written them down and kept them readily visible.. your core values that you hold dear & aren’t willing to compromise? How have you recently lived one of these values?
  5. Your Choice To Drive Change; Are you driving change or is it driving you? What are the purposeful steps you take on an ongoing basis to empower those around you to help make the decisions which will keep you ahead of the curve?
  6. Your Choice To Be A Role Model; Are you walking-the-talk or just talking-the-talk? Actions speak louder than words.. what have you been doing more of lately?
  7. Your Choice To Develop The People You Lead So That They May Some Day Be Your Boss; How many opportunities are you taking on a daily basis to share “the why” of your decisions & actions? Are you teaching your team to fish or are you giving them the fish by the bucket-loads?
  8. Your Role In Creating A High Performance Environment; Are you a facilitator or a blocker for Top Performance? By the way, these questions are best answered by your team if you want it to be objective.
  9. Accept That You Can No Longer Do All The Things That Got You To Where You Are; How willing are you to question your own tactics / results, even when they’re successful? Could they have been even better? How willing are you to go outside your comfort zone?
  10. Identify And Communicate A Compelling Vision; Does everyone know, and more importantly, can they recite back to you in a quantifiable manner what your Vision/Dream is for your company, department and or unit?
  11. Get The Strategic Focus Right; How much time have you dedicated to the strategy that you’re asking your team to follow? How have you engaged them in the process of creating or refining it? What are your Top 3-5 goals for the next quarter & year ahead? How do these contributing to your Vision & Mission?
  12. Make Sure You Have The Right People In The Right Roles; Are people playing to their strengths? Have you asked yourself, or them, lately “what are you really good at”?
  13. Clearly Define And Communicate What Is Expected Of Them; Have you defined your expected outcomes & gained buy-in for when & how they will be delivered in an empowering manner? Keywords here are “outcome”, “buy-in” & “empowering”!
  14. Have The Courage To Let Go; Is the weight of the world on your shoulders or have you delegated & distributed responsibility across the board? If you decided to go fishing tomorrow without notice what wouldn’t get done in your workplace?
  15. Balance Vision, Challenge, And Support; What mechanisms do you have in place to take regular pulses through-out the week to make micro-adjustments instead of Big-Bang 180º shifts? How are your team’s activities aligned to the communicated / agreed Vision & Mission?
  16. Over To You; What are you doing on a regular basis that is both Inspirational & Motivational?

In Summary

It’s my experience that you can’t excel at any of the above unless you’re grounded in who you are, what you really want & to what standards will you hold yourself accountable. This is the basis of your Core Ideology (Mission/Purpose, Vision/Dream & Core Values). What are you unwilling to compromise on?

If you can get these clear, and confidently answer the 16 points above, then the rest is a “walk-in-the-park”.

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