Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is “it”?

What does it mean when a leader has “it”?

You’ve heard about “it”, thought about “it”, but most importantly you have probably felt “it”.
The “it” factor is also called the Leadership “Being”.   A leader’s “Being” is a unique combination of characteristics, philosophies, methodologies, and results that either draws or repels people.  Leaders with a positive being are trusted and respected by their groups; trust and respect translate into accountability, actions, risk taking, and problem solving by the team.  A team that trusts and respects their leader doesn’t want to let the leader down.   The opposite is true for a leader without “it”.  

Barry Poser and Jim Kouzas have asked thousands of students what the most important characteristics of a great leader are.  Four personal characteristics have remained unchanged for over twenty years - Honesty, Forward Thinking, Inspirational, and Competent.  These characteristics are the foundations of leadership “Being”.  You can shape and nurture your leadership “Being”, but, to start, you must understand where you stand at the moment.    In order to improve your leadership “Being”, ask yourself these questions each day.  I promise your results will improve.

Am I being honest?  How do I really feel?  Do my actions match my words?  Don‘t lie to people, don’t lie to yourself, and don’t pretend you’re going to do something to avoid confrontation.  Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.  People appreciate the truth.  In order to trust the leader – they must know they are getting the straight scoop from the leader.   The integrity of a leader’s word is crucial to trust. 

What could the future hold?  What could we do to prepare for good or bad times?  How could we avoid problems and create opportunities?  Your team is counting on you to think about the future and have plans to deal with any situation that may occur.  You must keep your eyes and imagination focused on how today will impact tomorrow, so you can effectively lead your group regardless of what happens in the future.  People don’t expect you to have all the answers, but they must believe you will be ready and able to lead them well.

Am I inspired by what I am leading? Am I passionate about the cause?  This is simple.  If you are excited, your team may be; if you are not excited, the team definitely won’t be either.  If you’re passionate about work or the mission you serve, people will feel your drive, determination, accountability, and resourcefulness.  People are inspired by leaders who believe in the cause and are committed to making it happen. 

Do I know what it will take to lead this team to success?  Compentency is very broad but each of us understands that there are common elements of success that must be achieved whether you are leading a conversation, coaching a team, leading a business, leading a family, or trying to get all the kids to a fun day at the beach.  Teams need goals, plans, responsibilities, resources, and boundaries to work together to cause a goal.  Regardless of your venture, you must understand how to assess situations, resources, and obstacles in order to effectively lead your team to success.  People expect the leaders to understand the situation in order to effectively and efficiently utilize the time, treasure, and talent of the organization to reach goals that benefit the entire team.

Leaders must evolve before their team can grow.  The “it” factor or leadership “Being” in leaders can be defined and nurtured.  You can improve your foundations of leadership “Being” by evaluating your level of honesty, forward thinking, inspiration, and competency in any of your leadership positions.  Understanding who you are “Being” as a leader is the first step to increasing your results as a leader.  The best leaders never stop looking for ways to grow in order to serve others.  Wise leaders understand personal leadership development never ends.  The people you touch during your journey will be thankful.  I promise.

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