Many people claim to be leaders, but truly good ones are few. Everyone who aspires to lead — whether as pastor, as a chief executive officer of a Fortune 500 company, or as a classroom teacher — should not only ask himself, “What is leadership“, but also he must ask himself, “What is good leadership?” What does it look like? What makes up a good leader?
As the Vice President of a growing company I find myself often having to ask my secretary to email the notes from the last board meeting or to screen my calls so I can get some work done. Everything from my body language to my tone of voice is going to influence my working relationship with her. This serves as a perfect example of why I must ask myself “what is good leadership” as I continue in my role as Vice President . For definitely, there are certain traits I must possess in my leadership role in order to be exhibiting Good Leadership.
People Skills – A good leader knows how to treat people. He must treat his team members with respect, regardless of their position on the team. He must remember that just because some team members are lower in rank than he is, that does not mean that they are beneath him. The team leader just functions at a higher level of responsibility than the given team member. Thus there is a place for humility — and that humility must show in his mode of interaction with all his team members.
Integrity – A good leader possesses integrity. He must always deal with his team members honestly. He must say what he means and mean what he says. For instance, if this leader happens to be a manager or supervisor, if he promises an employee a raise from the beginning May 4 of this year, when the employee looks at his check, that raise will be evident. As Rachel Farrell of CareerBuilder.com points out, employees feel more secure knowing their true standing with the company at all times.
Vision/Focus – Another mark of a good leader is that he has vision. He has a strong idea of what how he wants his organization to look in five years. Additionally, he has a definite plan in place for steering his group in that direction.
Confidence -a good leader exudes confidence regarding his ability to lead. If he is insecure or has a self-esteem problem, his team will be able to perceive that. When they do pick up on his lack of confidence, they will cease to trust or respect him which will discredit his efforts toward good leadership. Are you committing any of these 12 Killers of Good Leadership?
Firmness – An effective leader knows when to demonstrate gentleness, but he also realizes that at times he must show firmness. This particularly rings true as he makes — and seeks to enforce — the policies of the organization. Firmness does not mean meanness, threats, or always raising your voice. Instead, it is a willingness to enforce the rules consistently, whether it is in dealing with employees or clients. For instance, if you as a leader of a non-profit board sets a rule that the board must remove anyone who is absent or late more than three times during a fiscal year, he must be consistent in enforcing that policy without discrimination.
Calmness in the Face of Crisis – A good leader remains calm in the presence of adversity. As Barbara White, President of Beyond Better Development, points out, a good leader is able to stay focused with the main purpose in view, in the face of whatever storms of life may come.
These 6 traits of Good Leadership are very different from that of a manager. Compare these with my post on What is Management? You’ll see that leadership and specifically good leadership is a very difficult thing to attain. You must work at it every day and lead your group with intention! I highly recommend The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You. I use this book every single day to help me sharpen the leadership blade.
Can you think of any other traits of Good Leadership?