What makes a great leader? Take a minute and consider some of the most influential people in your life. How did they shape your personal and professional experiences? What sort of character traits sets the best leaders apart from the rest?
The dictionary definition of leadership is stark and objective. Google tells us that leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” When creating a definition for excellent leadership, the answers get complex because of the subjective nature of leadership from an individual perspective.
Leading a group of people or an organization effectively is a complex task. It requires a basic understanding of psychology, human emotion, and verbal and non-communication. It requires strength, sensitivity, a strong moral code, and a healthy dose of humour at the appropriate moments.
How are great leaders made? What separates greatness from mediocrity?
Weak leaders are easy to find and even easier to dissect. They likely have character traits that include selfishness, micromanaging tendencies, arrogance, dishonesty, lack of ethics, bad temperament, poor communication. The list is endless.
Great leaders are not perfect but the decision to improve daily sets them apart. He or she works tirelessly to build trust and confidence within the team. These leaders make the effort to develop a positive working relationship and always put the welfare of others first. Great leaders are inspiring and their visionary approach can shift the entire focus towards excellence in any capacity.
The military pushes the concept of leadership to the extreme. In the Infantry, a platoon commander can, and will, ask his or her subordinates to accomplish very complex and dangerous tasks that may lead to catastrophic results including death. Here, the value of trust in the leader-subordinate relationship is unmatched.
Building trust requires integrity, honesty and discipline – both personal and professional. In routine interactions, it looks like this: show up to work on time, do your best, take a genuine interest to others, speak the truth, stay away from office drama, and keep your focus on your own job. Liking the person next to your desk is irrelevant. Stay professional even when others are not.
Leadership in a personal capacity is just as important as in a professional environment. Be the baseline for excellence in your life. This means being accountable to yourself, your family and friends. Eat well. Exercise for strength, stamina and well being. Take care of the details, no matter how small. Treat others with respect, kindness, compassion and honesty.
During the times when things get real and raw, apply the extreme ownership concept to your life. (Go and read that post over again if you need a refresher.) Stop blaming everything and everyone around you for your own failures. Why did you fail? You know why. You were not consistent, you lost sight of the goal. Fix it, and move on.
Now get out there LEAD BY EXAMPLE and CRUSH your day.