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Leadership Traits–Do You Have Them?

I read an article today (9 Traits of the Best Leaders), and a few of the noted traits really stood out to me. I can’t say that I exhibit all of them, all the time, but a few of them I really do try to hold to. Though these are more directed at ‘bosses’ in a JOB environment, they can be maneuvered into any leadership situation.

  • 4. They support without seeking credit. 

A customer is upset. A vendor feels shortchanged. A coworker is frustrated. Whatever the issue, good bosses support their employees. They know that to do otherwise undermines the employee’s credibility and possibly authority.

Afterword, most bosses will say to the employee, “Listen, I took up for you, but…”

Remarkable bosses don’t say anything. They feel supporting their employees—even if that shines a negative spotlight on themselves—is the right thing to do and is therefore unremarkable.

Even though we all know it isn’t.

 

There are a lot of things that I help my business partners with, and a lot of things I do in my day job that people don’t realize I do. I don’t care if I get the credit (unless someone gets it that had nothing to do with it, but that’s a different story), as long as it gets done. If you are doing what you think you are doing, you should not have to given credit publicly. Believe me, the people involved already know if you did it, or if you did not.

  • 7. They allow employees to learn their own lessons.

    It’s easy for a boss to debrief an employee and turn a teachable moment into a lesson learned.

    It’s a lot harder to let employees learn their own lessons, even though the lessons we learn on our own are the lessons we remember forever.

    Remarkable bosses don’t scold or dictate; they work together with an employee to figure out what happened and what to do to correct the mistake.

    They help find a better way, not a disciplinary way.

    Great employees don’t need to be scolded or reprimanded. They know what they did wrong.

    Sometimes staying silent is the best way to ensure they remember.

I am a firm believer in letting people make their own mistakes. Personally, I know this is the best way for ME to learn, and for many others as well. Let me screw it up–as long as it isn’t a screw up that wipes out an entire project. When I screw up (and I do), then help me figure out how I screwed up, and instruct me on how to do it correctly, or suggestions on other ways, and I guarantee I will remember it and teach it to people I later lead.

A great example of this is children. I have two boys. My boys don’t always listen. When they don’t listen, and something happens that we warned them would happen, they remember it the next time they want to do that particular thing. It wasn’t because I told them not to do it, it was because they got hurt, or did it the long way, or made a mess, etc, and that wasn’t the result they wanted. We ask them, ‘Now do you understand why I warned you not to do that?’, and they say ‘yes’ between their tears (which dry up rather quickly). Rarely do we see them do it again.

  • 9. They always go home feeling they could have done better.

    Leadership is like a smorgasbord of insecurity. Bosses worry about employees and customers and results. You name it, they worry about it.

    That’s why remarkable bosses go home every day feeling they could have done things a little better or smarter. They wish they had treated employees with a little more sensitivity or empathy.

    Most importantly, they always go home feeling they could have done more to fulfill the trust their employees place in them.

    And that’s why, although you can’t see it, when they walk in the door every day remarkable bosses make a silent commitment to do their jobs even better than they did yesterday.

    And then they do.


This is the biggest one, for me. I am never satisfied that I did the best job I could. I always feel like I could have given more, or been more, or did more. I find this more in my business than in my job (ok, fine, entirely in my business and not my job), mainly because I know that I have the potential to be greater than I am today. Every time I go to an event (and my sister feels the same way) and we are recognized for an achievement, in my head I’m saying, ‘Yeah, but it should have been better. We could have done better.’  The upside to this is that we get fired up, we create bigger action, and we DO better the next time around. I never pat myself on the back for a job well done until someone comes to me and says, ‘Thank you for your help, it helped me with so-and-so (or whatever).’  Then, I allow myself a small victory, but in my head. Or, if my sister is around, a victory dance for a minute. Then we get back to work, because we know that there is so much more to be done.

(Article excerpts taken from: Business Insider, please follow the link to read it in its entirety)

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