Recently some colleagues and I had a conversation over lunch about leadership, or the lack of it in many companies we have worked with over the years. Not that the organizations lacked leaders. But that each company’s definition of what makes a good leader varied so greatly and were many times very different from what the employees of the company needed.
Leadership can be a slippery slope. There are many variables. Leadership should include the following, no matter what the situation:
- Empathy – A person in a leadership role who can’t view things from any viewpoint from his own is lacking in an important developmental skill. If you are going to be responsible for a team of people, there is a tremendous value in being able to view situations from different angles.
- Flexibility – Yes, it is important for a leader to have a strong vision. But a good leader leads with battlefield tactics; have a plan but be able to work with options not included in the original plan.
- Passion – Working for a leader that is passionless is one of the worst things in life. If a leader can’t be passionate about what they do and who they work with, how can they inspire passion from the people who work for them. You want your team to be excited about a project or client? Show them that excitement; bring it to bear in everything you do and the team will respond and catch that fever. And share that passion with clients.
It’s a given that leaders should be smart and capable. But the importance of empathy, flexibility and passion shouldn’t be over looked. Everyone wants to work for and with people who are good leaders. Or they can choose to leave a bad leader for a better one.
What leadership skills have you seen that make a real difference? When have you worked with someone who uses leadership skills for the betterment of the team?