Managers and parents, educators and CEOs, all have one thing in common: They influence others. What do really good leaders do that ineffective leaders don’t do? Why do some people inspire others to greatness while others promote little if any positive influence? Or worse, why and how do some people negatively influence others, bringing down entire organizations, companies, and profits? While books and lectures on this topic abound, the most effective leadership comes down to a few basic tenets:
1. Do you have integrity? As a leader, if you are not a person of your word you can’t motivate others. Or you may inspire them initially, but they won’t be with you for the long haul. If you’re a parent of teenagers, you’ve probably experienced how quickly they can let you know when you’re being a hypocrite.
2. Do you bring out the best in others and yourself? The best leaders understand the strengths and weaknesses of others, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. They leverage the best qualities of those around them in ways that promote the personal growth of that person while meeting the goals of the organization.
3. Do you have people on your team who offer different perspectives? Research shows that successful companies, as well as strong families, allow for differing points of view. Do you have people around you who think differently than you do? Do they challenge your point of view to help you make more thorough decisions?
4. Are you a visionary? Do you have an idea of where your company can go and what your team can do to bring about wild successes? What tolerance do you have for teachable failures? What culture and climate does your vision promote? A true vision will reflect your most basic values and beliefs.
5. Do you lead by example? Are you someone who doesn’t ask more from others than you are willing to give yourself? The most effective leaders have the ability to maintain their authority while providing an example of leadership built on trust and respect.