Monthly Archives: October 2011

Traits of a Great Leader- number 3

In the list of traits of great leaders that Facebook friends suggested another was “Unwavering Vision”.

I agree wholeheartedly with this suggestion, I will add a little rider later.

In conventional coaching language, Goals would come close to covering this. However, there is more to unwavering vision than just goal setting.

This is all about having such strong vision, such strong goals that the focus never strays from where one is going.

The image that pops into my head is that of a GPS system. You set the destination to which you are heading, then the GPS begins and continues to issue directives that are totally focused on getting you from where you are to where you want to go.

In fact it is so unwavering that if you err slightly the voice will let you know and begin issuing directives to bring you back on track.

A great Leader needs to be absolutely sure of where they want to go. This may require a large amount of interaction with all the key stakeholders, a large amount of research, checking out all the possibilities and options, fine tuning choices till finally a single choice has surfaced as the goal for which to strive.

Another issue which many overlook is the need to know where you are starting the journey from. Until that is known, there is no way of setting the GPS, of plotting the course. The two critical things that go hand in hand are where are you starting from and where are you heading to.

Unless you know both the GPS cannot be set, the journey cannot be defined and created step by step.

To have unwavering Vision it needs to be defined and there needs to be a surety that this is truly where you need and want to be heading. Unless there is that surety, that certainty, then there may definitely be a lack of commitment.

It is very hard to follow a leader who is forever changing their mind about where they are heading.

One comment I said I would come back to is the only downside about “unwavering”.

What happens if somewhere along the way their arises an awareness that this is not the correct direction, that the goal needs to be redefined.

It is useless putting time and effort into a goal, if it becomes obvious that it is no longer the correct goal.

Steven Covey’s “wrong forest” comment in his Seven Habits book illustrates this. If you are heading in the wrong direction them working harder, working longer will not get you there.

In my model there is a constant requirement of checking in to see that the direction we are going is truly still where we want to go.

Part of this is feedback, part is regular assessments, another part is truly listening to all comments and assessing their validity in relation to vision defined and actual vision required.

All effort was initially invested in defining the vision, however as new light is shone on the vision it is more than possible, after discussion and consideration, that the vision may need to be redefined.

As long as there is a proviso for revisiting the original vision, checking to be sure it truly represents where you want to go and being humble enough to admit you got it wrong and being willing to redefine it, then “Unwavering Vision” is truly a powerful trait of great leaders.

How well have you defined where you want your life, your business to head? How well have you assessed and defined exactly where you are at this moment?

Unless you have seriously worked on both of these equally, you may have issues of wasting a whole lot of time, energy and money heading down a dead end track.

If you haven’t then your leadership is being called into doubt. Be sure you have done what is needed so that you can lead with Unwavering vision.

 

Call me if you need to do some work on this. 61 (0 in Oz)419 701 608

 

Traits of a Great Leader- Integrity.

During last week I watch the DVD of “Robin Hood”.

I had put off getting this DVD because I ad heard doubtful comments about it.

They were wrong.

It was a powerful movie with a great deal of memorable occasions in it.

Even more though it characterized a variety of Leadership styles.

I have chosen the trait of integrity as this was a common theme.

According to the first definition I found on Google, Integrity is “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”

Wikipedia says this is hard to define because moral principles are subjective.

However there are some generalisations of the definition. In western society there is a broad understanding of what moral principles and moral uprightness requires.

In Robin Hood, Robin himself, answers King Richard, the Lion heart, honestly when asked, the King¬† reneges on his promise, Honesty and keeping one’s word are truly a part of integrity. In this incided, Richard did not show integrity.

King John, Richard’s brother who inherited the throne is even more lacking in integrity.

The character of Robin Hood is painted as showing great integrity.

1. Going out of his way to keep the promises that he has chosen to make.

2. Being a person who sees the injustice, greed and inconsistency of many of the players who come from the side of politics, religion and royalty.

3. Being a person who is compassionate and understands what it is like to suffer.

4. Being someone who does not use his power primarily for his own purposes, but for the good of all. He did use subterfuge to get back to England, however, he attached it to a promise that he made to get the crown home. Profit is acceptable as long as no one is disenfranchised.

5. He does not take advantage of Marion, even though he has been virtually given permission to.

It seems that it could be said that the whole story has been written to contrast the integrity of the political and Royalty of the 11th Century BCE with Robin Hood’s integrity.

I believe the picture has done this well. Like Braveheart from a Scottish perspective. These movies portray aspects of history that could have been completely different if the powers that be had shown a much greater level of integrity in the way they dispensed the Law and Justice.

To me I believe that Integrity come high up on the list of traits, very close to actually be number one.

What are your thoughts? Let me know.

Traits of a great Leader. Number 2. Passion.

Following on from last weeks post on the first trait of a great Leader. Today’s trait is passion.

All great leaders show an incredible belief,  a drive that is overpowering. Their motivation is unstoppable. They eat sleep and breath their major focus. They are passionate.

There is an awareness that “there is no way the world could exist without this”.

Passion does not emanate from left hemisphere thinking, it is not logical, analytical, structured or controlled. Rather it has a high emotional drive associated with it.

This kind of drive defies logic. The logical mind has a great deal of challenge dealing with anything that is passionate. We ask, “how can someone be so driven that they would override standard rules”? “Why would someone work 18 hours a day on some silly project”? How come someone would be willing to keep changing the way things are done in the search for their dream”?

Passion drives us on when we have reached the point of giving up on a project, yet somehow still keep working on it with a renewed vigor.

Passion has us continue to work through the challenges of a project when, no matter how many hurdles we have jumped, we are always ready and enthusiastic to jump the next one and the next one, knowing that sooner or later we will reach our goal. We will achieve.

The journey to achieve the impossible has been inspired by passion. Interestingly enough, if the passion is great enough, somehow, the impossible becomes attainable.

Without passion there is a temptation to give up so much sooner. Somehow, the limitations are accepted much easier if there is no passion in the mix.

The passion to achieve an Olympic medal can drive an athlete to achieve above and beyond the realm of usual achievement.

You are a Leader. How passionate are you? Do you inspire both yourself and those you lead to look within and achieve above and beyond the standard response?

Do you inspire those you lead to look deep within themselves and find that extra that they were unaware was there?

The beauty of this is that when trait two, passion, is linked with trait one, humility, we can see that the great leader is so totally focused on task at hand that there is no ego drive involved, the total energy focus is on empowerment, not on self aggrandizement.

Passion powerfully focused nurtures others, it encourages others, it excites others, the dream is caught, owned and acted upon.

Passion is contagious.

How passionate are you about the tasks you are involved in. If not, as Zig Ziglar said, “Maybe you need a check up from the neck up”. Maybe you need a coach who will work with you to assist you to find and name you passion?

Drop me an email. austin@austinparry.com

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