Leadership graphic with Solarity Swoop

To be successful as a leader, one must display behaviors and adhere to a set of standards on which the members of the organization that he or she leads can observe.  Through consistent adherence to these standards of behavior, success can be achieved.  These qualities run the gamut of leadership behaviors and encompass what you see in the model to your left.

As you look at this, you may ask why some competencies such as communications skills, emotional intelligence, decision-making, and problem solving are not readily obvious.  The answer – competencies of this nature serve to lay the foundation upon which these higher-order keys are built.  The keys highlighted in this article represent the consolidation of the discrete skill and knowledge requirements typically thought of as pertaining to leadership.

What’s captured here summarizes the learning that I have benefited from throughout my educational and work experiences.  I have had the opportunity to see many wonderful leaders in action and I have learned from each.

I welcome any feedback and encourage a dialogue around the concepts presented herein.

Integrity & Trust

Why is this Important?

Through the application of consistent standards, those that you lead gain an appreciation for your expectations and this then helps to support a trust-filled environment.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

If you become known as someone with a “Do as I say, not as I do” mindset, your ability to offer inspirational leadership will be undermined with the likelihood of failure increasing greatly.

What it is

  • Walking the Talk – abiding by the same expectations that you hold others accountable to.
  • Honesty & Truthfulness
  • Consistency

What it’s Not

  • Holding others accountable for behaviors that you do not expect of yourself.
  • Disingenuous behavior.

Accountability

Why is this Important?

We are all hired for a purpose with our ability and desire to deliver on this purpose being a key success measure for us all.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Failure in this area undermines pretty much everything else that you may achieve.  An inability to deliver results through your team trumps all.  We are paid to deliver and if we don’t, we will be asked to leave.

What it Is

  • Accepting responsibility
  • Delivering results
  • Meeting or exceeding expectations

What it’s Not

  • Deflecting
  • Finger-pointing and blaming
  • Making excuses
  • Procrastinating

Honesty & Transparency

Why is this Important?

Being open and honest with those that you lead creates transparency.  This reduces the need for speculation and for filling the void that could exist in less open organizations.

Creating a place where participants feel safe to disagree leads to increased creativity and innovation.  The free flow of information around thoughts, concepts, and ideas can produce better solutions for the organization.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Do not even try to pretend to be someone or something that you are not.  Your team, your customers, your peers, your ??? will see this and you will lose credibility.

Holding things back, for the sake of control will limit the group’s ability to achieve.  In today’s dynamic, information rich, and disrupted work environment, the minds of many are always better than the mind of one – we simply cannot stay on top of all that there is on our own.

What it Is

  • Sharing in an open & honest manner
  • Healthy, open, transparent dialogue
  • Willingness to disagree

What it’s Not

  • Disingenuous behaviors
  • Pretending
  • “Knowledge is Power”

Focus on Relationships

Why is this Important?

As leaders, to be successful, we must contribute through others.  If we take the time to get to know our team, we will have a better understanding of their capabilities and ensure that we are using them to their greatest advantage.

Understanding the needs of those that you lead, getting to know the people that report to you, and achieving “want to” not just “can do” from them is essential to sustainable organizational success.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

What goes around comes around.  If you employ behaviors that take advantage of, manipulate, or that demonstrate that you expect something in return for everything that you do you will alienate those around you and find the organization unwilling to, or incapable of, consistently putting forth their best effort.

What it Is

  • Collaborative
  • Win x win mindset
  • Know your team
  • Empathy

What it’s Not

  • Manipulative
  • Quid pro quo
  • Taking advantage of others

Organizational Focus

Why is this Important?

As leaders, our role is to help the organization meet its goals and achieve its strategic objectives. Knowing this leaves us with only one choice and that is to ensure that we work in alignment with the broader organization to ensure we are doing our part in helping it to succeed.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Silos are unhealthy and representative of a dysfunctional organizational culture. Taking a broader organization-wide view to begin with helps to ensure that your team/department/function is placing the needs of the organization above the needs of your piece of it.

What it Is

  • First think about the needs of the broader organization to ensure that you are focused on meeting these needs
  • Supporting the needs of the people that report to you

What it’s Not

  • Silos
  • About you
  • About your team
  • About your department

Collaboration & Engagement

Why is this Important?

An environment where open dialogue is the norm and where folks feel comfortable challenging one another’s ideas contributes to an engaged workforce. An engaged workforce is a group that is willing to tackle the tough challenges.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Rigid top down direction, an autocratic style, and an unwillingness to listen stifle collaboration. Today’s workforce expects a team orientation and without collaboration, they will not find the work environment to be as engaging. Turnover may increase and along with it, efficiency will decline.

What it Is

  • Dialogue that involves listening, the sharing of thoughts and ideas, and a true goal of creating a win-win outcome

What it’s Not

  • Top down direction
  • Autocratic style
  • Unwilling to listen
  • Lack of encouragement

Creativity & Innovation

Why is this Important?

You are not the smartest person in the room – many that you lead will bring newer, better, and more creative ideas than can you.  Your job is to create an environment where the organization is willing to share.

Remember, more often than not the best ideas come from someone else!

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Behavior that stifles creativity and innovation in today’s work setting simply must not be permitted. The dynamic environment in which business now operates demand that businesses innovate in order to survive.

What it Is

  • Inclusive, exciting, challenging, and fun
  • Forward looking
  • Seeking change
  • Influencing the future
  • Taking risks

What it’s Not

  • Dominating the dialogue
  • Controlling the flow of ideas
  • Taking credit
  • Not recognizing contributions

Growth & Development

Why is this Important?

Ensuring that the organization you lead is ready to tackle the challenges faced today and into the future requires a continuing investment in their competence. This must be a key area of focus for anyone in a leadership role.

How Can Less than Optimal Behavior Impact Effectiveness?

Today’s workforce demands the opportunity to develop and grow. Failing to allow for this will lead to increased turnover rates, decreased employee engagement, increased costs, and negative impacts on the bottom line.

What it Is

  • Feedback & Coaching
  • Challenging Work Assignments
  • Formal & Informal Training

What it’s Not

  • An Unnecessary Business Expense