Monthly Archives: September 2011

Traits of a great Leader. Number 1

The other week I posted a question on Facebook asking what people believed were the traits of a good leader.

I received six responses which was great.

They were: humility, passion, unwavering vision, integrity, ability to lead and inclusiveness.

Each of these has very good value.

The first one mentioned is humility.

One of the biggest challenges for people working in an organization is to have a manager, an overseer, a leader who is so caught up with looking good, impressing their next level of management, needing to affirm that they know it all.

Especially when they know for certain that the decisions the person is making are totally focused in the wrong direction.

It is a bit like watching the majority of politicians of all persuasions and from most countries, so caught up in looking good, sounding definitive, appearing in control, creating assurance, yet as the observer, it being so easy to see through the bluff, through the BS, the waffle, the half truths spoken in hope, the “fingers crossed” proclamations that rely on no-one calling them to task. Their inability to admit to making a mistake.

A bit like proclaiming that black is white and then when someone categorically points out that black is black and white is white, stating that they never really meant that black was white and how they had been misrepresented.

Elusive in their dealings with the truth!

I would place this trait of humility high on the agenda. When someone is humble, there is an honesty about them. There is no BS. What you see is what you get.

If there is a stuff up, then the humble leader will acknowledge what has gone wrong. If there is misunderstanding then the humble leader will be totally open to re-expressing the concern so all understand.

Humility stands high on the requirement list for a leader. As a leader where do you stand on that specific trait? Can you in all honesty admit to being humble?

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Probably for the first time this year I actually watched a game of Rugby League.

People have been talking about how Darren Lockyer, who plays for the Brisbane Broncos, truly is a great footballer.

This may be true, however, the greatest awareness that even though he is a great player, he is an even greater leader.

As I watched, I became aware that he is a low key leader, there did not appear to be any need to gain support for his leadership style, rather, he committed 100% to the task in hand and trusted everyone else in the team, they appeared to rise to the occasion inspired by his trust and belief in them.

He appears to understand himself exceptionally well, with a real control of his emotions. No show of emotion at all. No matter what mistakes his players may have made he appeared to be constantly affirming them to get up and move on. “No use crying over spilt milk”, so to speak. There appeared to be nothing in the way of rebuke.

Urging? yes. Empowering? yes. Totally in the present moment with the whole team. The sort of magic that freed his team members to know they are part of something bigger than themselves, yet at the same time be able to make independent decisions that would benefit the whole.

This awareness came to a head when he sustained an injury to his face. He lay dazed for a moment, then sat up assessing what had happened. He could be seen testing his bite and holding his cheek. he then runs, slowly to begin with, increasing in speed by the moment, to get back into the game. Once back he gets straight into the job in hand, affirming to the rest of the team that it was business as usual.

There was no show of anger, frustration, despair or even sadness. No, it was an objective assessment, a decision, then back into it.

The game reach full time as a draw. Extra time was called with a first to score being the winner process.

It was interesting as there seemed to be a “Leadership by Osmosis” process in place. The belief in the team players to know exactly what to do paid off as they positioned themselves to give Darren a shot at field goal. He took it and scored.

They won the game.

The servant leader style of leadership where’ “this is not about me” awareness was shown is massively empowering.

It created such a belief among the players that they all worked totally as individuals, yet totally as one. Each giving themselves to the total good.

I could not help think about so many businesses that could do well to exemplify this style of leadership.

Businesses that cannot work out what it is that does not bring out the best in their workers. That cannot see that the Boss, the Leader is the one who sets the tone.

That if the Boss, CEO, Manager does not show that they care deeply for each and every member of their organisation, ahead of caring for themselves, then the organisation will struggle with apathy, lack of commitment and higher than usual turn over of staff.

It was a great experience to see this example of how to run a successful business using a great leadership style being played out in a game. And being played out so obviously to me.

Checkout your organisation or business. If it is not running like a well oiled machine then checkout your leadership style. That will be what is creating the difference.

The great awareness is that you can change your style, “If you want to”.

So if you want to but don’t quite know where to start, email me, no matter where you are. I would love to be part of your journey.

Good Leaders Lead Themselves First

How well can you answer the question: “Who are you?”

Not: Who would you like to be?

Not: Who do you think you are?

Not: who do I want everyone to think I am?

No: Who are YOU?

Objectively — What are your strengths and weaknesses?

What is you “shown” side and your “shadow” side?

Each of my clients-before I see them for the first time is asked to do two personality assessment. DISC and Enneagram. The reason why these two and not the many others is another future post.

They give me an in depth awareness of how–through a series of questions that you answer– you are seeing the world at this moment.

They do not define you. All they do is tell me how things are at this moment. 12 months ago or in 12 months time the result could be different.

I then get you to look at the summary of awareness that your answers have suggested is you at this moment and ask you in what you have read:

How much do you recognize of you and are happy with?

How much do you recognize of you and are not happy with?

How much would you like to recognize but can’t?

How much do you not recognize and are glad that you can’t?

This is the process of getting to know “who you are”.

In “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves“, the queen had a magic mirror that she was able to ask about who was the most beautiful in the land. It usually answered that she was but once Snow White was old enough it gave her the honest answer. Her step daughter, Snow White was.

How willing are you to allow your mirror to talk back to you and give you an honest answer?

If you asked it: How good a listener am I? How caring am I? How open to ideas am I? How easily do I lose my temper? How arrogant am I?

Would you be open to the answer that the mirror would give you?

To be a good leader one needs to listen to the mirror.

All Leaders definitely need a mirror. Someone to help them to come to terms with what the rest of the world sees when it looks at them.

As a coach I facilitate, for leaders, this process, as the starting off point for learning truly how to be a good leader.

If I may be so blunt as to ask this question: “Do you truly know who YOU are?

If you can’t answer in all honesty yes, then we need to talk.

Drop me an email. Respond to this post. Don’t waste any time.

The rest of the world sees you as you are. You are the only one who may not.

Get some certainty that you are projecting to the world the message that you say you are projecting.

Make sure who you think you are is how others actually see you.

Leadership is a Spiritual Experience

At the risk of seeming as though I had caught Religion. I would like to suggest that many ideal Leaders I am aware of from material I have read are people like Jesus, Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Victor Frankl, Martin Luther King Jnr,

All people who have been able to come to terms with who they truly are. The BS aspect of their lives has been put aside. They are totally honest about who they are, what you see is what you get. There are no games played, they are totally transparent. No agendas.

This attribute is spiritual, it is to do with ones essence. The very fiber of a persons being.

When one is willing to be totally open and vulnerable, all pretense, out of the way, then the ground work has been laid to get incredible movement i whatever organisation on is in.

There is a downside to this as there are a large number of people within organisations who have a vested interest. Their cards are held close to their chest rather than laid openly on the table. One never knows what is going on in this groups head. They are a closed book, rather than an open book. They have too much to lose by being open and vulnerable.

Forgetting about this group, who will hold growth back due to hidden agenda, let us move onward with those who are open to finding the best solution, no matter what.

There are many of them, however, they are sometimes conspicuous by their apparent absence. Apparently absent because the ones who make the biggest noise are up front.

There is a quote that says, “Self praise is no recommendation”, yet we are massively influenced by those who make the loudest noise, who demand our attention, who proclaim loudly that they are the answer to our concerns.

The onslaught is so loud that it drowns out or ability to think for ourselves, it is so well languaged, in NLP terms, that it is extremely hard to refute. Yet if we can get away from the pressure and ask ourselves about the innocence of the comments we may see that the BS meter is running at 100%.

Truly spiritual leaders are those who have no agenda, no registration on the BS meter.  They are those who truly have the well being and good of others as their highest ideal.

To me, the only way to do this is to be able to cut through our own BS. To stop fooling ourselves that our ego drive is in other peoples best interest.

When I can genuinely care for someone else by being 100% committed to listening to them and seriously hearing what they are saying. Then assist them to work out what they truly would see as best for themselves. Then I have become a spiritually focused person, truly seeking the good, not caught up in agendas.

The Jesus’s, the Buddha’s, the Nelson Mandela’s, stayed focused on what was truly best for all. The love that issued forth so that there was no judgement, no agendas, only acceptance, allowed them to be open to the best possible answer available.

A true Leader is in exactly the same position, There is no agenda, the good of the organisation, whilst balanced with the good of all those who have an interest in the organisation, is their highest value, this is found by listening, being open, meditating to step outside of ones own agendas.

I heard of a study where the difference in leadership was denoted by the depth of interaction that occurred between all the players. The 1990’s MBWA process. (Management by Walking About). Talking to all the key stakeholders, eliciting their perception, hearing what they thought and felt, and then taking action that represented that variety of input.

The more comfortable one is with oneself. The more open one can be to getting feedback about how they have been received. The more willing one is to listening to other peoples perceptions about what is going on. Then the more one is truly in touch with ones inner peace.

This is what being spiritual as a Leader is.

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