Ever have a boss that was a great story teller and really seemed like they cared about their people? This person says all the right things, is the center of attention and seems “bigger than life”. They are often the loudest ones in the room and have everyone’s ear. Is this person also a bad leader? Worse yet, are they a bad leader who doesn’t know it? I’ve seen this before. Being a leader is more than having an outgoing personality. It’s the ability to influence people and groups towards expected ends. Read on about true leadership.
Don’t get me wrong, communication is an essential part of developing people and leading them toward common goals. It is not the end all, however.
True leadership takes;
1. Integrity. – Very simply, doing what you say and following through. Empty promises and hasty speech will erode credibility.
2. Understanding the goal. – You can’t lead the team to the promised land, if you don’t know where you’re going. Focusing on details that don’t add value wastes resources.
3. Knowing your people and their strengths. – Just because you know all about a person’s family and what they did last summer, doesn’t mean you are equipped with a working knowledge of this person’s abilities.
4. Understanding how to harness strengths for the good of the collective. – How can you place people in the best position possible, if you don’t know their strengths and how to influence them? Good leaders educate themselves on various motivational techniques and then apply what they’ve learned.
5. Understanding the obstacles and gaps to success. – Having a sixth sense about internal and external stressors is key for a successful leader. A person may think that striking up semi-related conversations or stories about past successes can help the team. Often when a person does this, it comes off as self promotion and does not help the current issue.
6. Consistency and Patience. – Success worth having takes time. There is no quick fix or quick answer. People who are great conversationalist often try to solve problems with one liners.
7. Knowing when to take a back seat. – There’s a certain type of person who likes to be the center of attention. This person will have a hard time understanding servant leadership.
We all love great storytellers and even more, we all love genuinely great people who make us feel good. But don’t let the smooth taste fool you. Be aware of your surroundings. We can learn so much about good leadership from good leaders, but we can learn even more from bad ones.