There are many things that leaders strive to do and be. Here are 5 things that we… at the Exceptional Leaders Lab… believe are the cornerstones for effective leaders.
1. Purposeful Self Improvement. Leadership is a skill. One of the biggest misconceptions about leadership is that it is an innate quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone can learn to be a great leader. The qualities that make amazing leaders are mostly decisions an individual makes and the actions taken from those decisions.
2. Leaders Develop People. You could certainly argue that the best resume for a leader is the success of the people on her team. If a leader isn’t creating other leaders, they should consider being better at delegating, succession planning, grooming people for certain roles, and creating opportunities that leverage the strengths of their people.
3. It’s the “X” Factor. You can’t always describe all of the facets that make up a great leader but you can definitely tell when there is poor leadership. People are walking on eggshells, no one is getting promoted, morale is low, and no one feels valued. These are just a few of the downsides to poor leadership. You also know when you are experiencing great leadership. People are performing at high levels, are happy overall with their job, and know how important their contributions are to the overall mission of the company.
4. Leaders Create Accountability. They ARE accountable and their teams know exactly what needs to be accomplished on a daily basis. They have checkpoints, evaluations, and timely talks with their direct reports. And they never make excuses for poor performance. They make adjustments and hit their targets.
5. They are thermostats, not thermometers. We’ve talked about this many times in blogs, books, etc.….but it remains a cornerstone. Great leaders establish the temperature (energy) in the room instead of just reporting the temperature. They determine the emotional climate by creating expectations, rewarding and recognizing their people, and their people are better because of their influence.