John Spence on life and leadership
A month or so ago, John Spence caught up with me on twitter. He offered to send a copy of his book “Awesomely Simple.” I’m glad I accepted. I found his book very useful. I thought you would enjoy learning from John so I asked him some questions. Here is the first half of our exchange.
John, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with the Leadership Freak community. Let’s jump right in. I’m interested in you as a person. What key events made you who you are today?
Being named the CEO of an international Rockefeller foundation at the age of 26. I realized quickly that I was in over my head and learned the value of mentors, asking for help, reading, and surrounding myself with the brightest, most talented and high integrity people I could possibly find. That experience was a turning point in my life and my career.
Thanks John. I’m glad to hear you say you felt “in over your head.” Every leader faces these feelings, if they don’t they aren’t leading. I hear you saying one aspect of forward movement is realizing you can’t go forward alone. Great advice.
Speaking of being in over your head, if you could do something over, what would it be and why?
I have made many mistakes and errors in my life, but I would not change many of them because of the incredibly wonderful lessons I’ve learned from them. I guess if I were to have to change one thing, it would be that I would have taken much better care of my health when I was young, as I am paying the price for years of football, rugby and karate as I enter my 50s – and now realize how vital good health truly is.
I appreciate your candor. I couldn’t agree more about the value of our errors. In many cases, if we work through them, our mistakes make us.
Speaking of health, it’s nearly impossible to break the perceived invincibility of youth. I think that makes your response to early success all the more remarkable. Many young leaders may not have sought help.
I’d like to focus on leadership qualities for a minute. What are the top three qualities every leader should have?
This is a very challenging question, as I believe there are many qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader, but if you force me down to just three my list would be:
Character: first and foremost every leader must… (continued tomorrow)
I’ve already exceeded my word limit so I’ll post the rest of John’s response tomorrow.
I’m asking the Leadership Freak community the same question I asked John. What top three leadership qualities should every leader have? Let’s share our thoughts today and then tune in tomorrow to compare responses with John.
I would say the following: 1- Character; 2- Competence; 3- Commitment. Thanks for doing what your doing. Howie
So true, keep up the dialogue so intriguing!
The biggest thinks I have learned in Leadership is the value of constructive criticism over subordinate criticism.
I have found Constructive criticism brings a greater positive response as the workers appear to be more receptive and understanding as compared to the old do as I say scenario.
Don’t be afraid to admit you made a mistake but most important is to fix your mistake once we have realized a mistake was made which can be costly but others will see that you care and the odds are we won’t make the mistake again!
Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance from others when in doubt ask more than one person, sometimes opens another quail from with in though!
“…I guess if I were to have to change one thing, it would be that I would have taken much better care of my health when I was young…”
Thank you for sharing the vulnerability here. I hope many, many young leaders read that and take steps to ensure they serve strong for the long haul.
Keep up the great work, Dan!
Scott — it was a hard-won lesson, and now at age 46 being healthy is a top priority. It is especially important for a leader to stay strong and healthy because so many people are depending on you — and a high level leader can often have a truly brutal schedule. I have averaged a minimum of 120 days on the road every year of my career — with many years toping 200 days out. That is tough on anybody – but if you not strong and balanced — it will crush you quickly. Thanks so much for your comments!
Listening, Learning, Serving. There are probably 7 more in my “top 3” too, but you’ll probably get those in other comments. Mike…
Jumping in with my TOP 3 essential leadership qualities
Humility – the acknowledgement that you don’t know, and can’t do, everything by yourself
Candour – the courage to face and speak the brutal and honest truth – calling other people on their BS when necessary 🙂
Backbone – the strength to make and stick with unpopular choices, because they are the RIGHT thing to do
Of course – there are many more qualities that create a fabulous leader but show me a leader that has these qualities and I’ll happily follow.
Great topic! There are a lot of articles on leadership out there this morning.
1-Character is critical because a leader loses credibility as a leader when people believe that a leader does not have the character needed. Just look to Washington….
2-Vision to set the direction and priorities
I fully agree with the 3 essentials as listed by you. I extend your 3rd characteristic point as passion to achieve and enjoy success with the team along.
Character again covers the whole gamut of good qualities and practices of organizational behaviour to lead the team of committed followers. It also includes values of life to be consistently followed by the entire staff to create a right good image and the leader sets this by way of his own example.
Vision of course is the first step of a ladder of triumphs and glory.
1) Listening beyond the point of agreement
2) Continual learning in field and outside of field then trying pragmatic applications with self and those being lead.
3) Having a mentor/friend that constantly challenges your actions and foundations of knowledge.
Spot on Michael…appreciate the the ‘listening beyond’ frame! Thanks!
Doc, I’ve been waiting for you to chime in…couldn’t sleep last night. 😉
Great post, 3 qualities: loyalty, character & submissive to spiritual authority.
Dan, I strongly believe a leader MUST have these 3 to succeed:
INTEGRITY. As they say, it takes years to build trust and seconds to lose it. No matter how skilled a leader is, if the people around them can’t trust, then their leadership is a colossal waste of time.
AN INNER EAR. Listening to someone talk is okay. But truly hearing what they’re saying is exponentially better. Listening at this level takes time and effort. It demands humility to consider you might be wrong about something. It requires observing non-verbal and body language.
PEOPLE SKILLS. I can’t express enough how important it is to be able to get along with others. We are soooo dependent on one another. Gone are the days of the “self-made man” (was that ever even a reality to begin with??) Over the years, we have read about this in books like “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty”, etc.
• Commitment- totally engrossed and engaged for the success of others
• Communication -effective with praise, correction and counseling to build others
• Common sense-must be able to see the tree before the forest uses everyday thinking to solve situations
I think No. 1 is Honesty…your “followers” are brighter than you think and will be quick to spot a rat. 2) Conviction – you must believe in a vision in order to inspire others. 3) Communication – this includes listening to understand where improvements are needed and being able to articulate your vision.
Thanks for many great posts!
I would say….Integrity–if you cannot be honest in your dealings publicly and privately you have little to offer me as a leader
then Vulnerability—yep, I want my leader to be able to acknowledge weaknesses, need for help, and an ability to admit when he is wrong or has made a mistake
finally Vibrancy—by this I mean a joy in living. work is fun, life is fun, family and friends are fun and it is fun to find and make whatever confronts us fun. maybe this is a positive attitude or outlook but to me it makes a person vibrant.
interesting interview, looking forward to the rest!
I have to confess, Dan, that I generally find discussions of “qualities” or “traits” to be very frustrating. They are states of being. I’d much rather talk about behaviors because they are observable and changeable.
In coaching sessions we often start from a quality and then work to identify the behaviors that “make it so.” Let me use Howie’s comment as an example.
Howie, you were the first comment and you also listed qualities that many coaching clients have named over the years.
If Howie were a coaching client and he identified “character” as a quality of great leadership, I would ask some questions so we can identify what that looks like. Examples might be the following.
Have you ever worked for a leader with character? What did he or she do that makes you say that?
Or, more directly: How does a leader with character act?
The conversation that starts with a question like that can lead us to things that Howie should be doing, but isn’t. More likely we’ll identify things he’s already doing, but needs to do differently or more or less. Then we can work on changing the behavior behind the quality.
Having said that, here are my top three behaviors that great bosses do.
Great bosses touch base a lot. All good things start from this.
Great bosses have conversations with their team members.
Great bosses praise praiseworthy results, but also effort and progress.
Wally, right on, brother! Qualities are only as good as when they are a part of the journey. Perhaps I’d even go as far as to say qualities are the bi-product of behavior.
I liked the way you emphasized on checking on behaviors and the manner in which it helps build character of a leader. I appreciate your observation and the comments on the working style of Great Bosses. In fact, such things are actual habits of successful leaders.
They create a positive work environment and encourage people to give their best to earn good recognition and rewards.
We should not forget that leaders build a strong bond of oneness amongst all with a common goal for achievement.
Great post and question! Here are my Top 3 off the top of my head.
1 – Respect: For everyone. Everyone has a valuable role to play along with skills and competencies; recognise them.
2 – Integrity: Do what you say and say what you do. Build trusting relationships. Lead by example others will imitate you (whether you want them to or not)
3 – Service: A leader is there to serve others. You are there to build up others so that they can “get the job done”. You aren’t a leader to build yourself up.
And, to repeat what others have said, there are many others. But these 3 will get you moving in the right direction.
Eric — you hit a BIG one there with respect — that is now the number ONE thing that people mention in my classes when I ask them what they look for in a leader they would “willingly follow” — RESPECT!!! thanks for your comments.
My top three in no particular order:
1. Acting with integrity by that I mean treating people well trying to do what’s right.
2. Taking an interest in the success of others
3. Having the courage to make the tough calls.
The top 3 qualities of a leader:
1- Integrity-lead by example -honesty
2-Emotional Intelligence, or EQ- people skills will take you further than book knowledge. EQ is about empathy, compassion, assertive communication and thoughtfulness.
3- Be an outstanding listener-it builds trust and relationships, impacting nearly every area of relationships and business.
Wishing all of you continued success~
Good stuff, Dan.
1. Compassionate–someone who genuinely cares about his or her team and wants them to succeed on a personal and professional level.
2. Emotionally moderate–someone who never gets too high or low.
3. Funny (within moderation)–great leaders seem to know just when to say or do something to ease a stressful situation. For example, there was a time when our team was wound pretty tight. Our boss brought in silly putty for each member of the staff. How can you stay stressed out when you’re fixated on free silly putty (even if only for a few minutes)?
Hmmm…Top 3 traits? I certainly don’t mean to avoid answering the question, but I also don’t want to mislead anyone by offering an opinion in a vacuum.
Trait theory is difficult to grapple with simply because there is no perfect leader, just the right leader for a given situation. After character/integrity, trying to establish a hierarchy of traits becomes impossible without nuancing for context. This post offers some insights on trait theory: http://www.n2growth.com/blog/the-qualities-of-a-leader
Thanks for the opportunity to share Dan…
1. Know difference between influence & manipulation
2. Delegate the ‘ways’, but not the vision
With great power comes great responsibility. This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I’m Spider-man.
My top three
Being genuine, I am open and honest and people see that.
Infectious can do attitude this gets others fired up when I tell them what my vision is.
Listening a leader needs to listen to the people to gauge if he is doing his/her job well. Sometimes the best information comes from the most overlooked source. That is the person doing the job every day has to be recognized as the knowledge expert in that task.
Aw, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the other two! Guess I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. My three would be: 1) the leader’s willingness to surround him/herself with people who may be more technically proficient or in some other way have strengths that the leader does not have; 2) confidence in him/herself – it’s the insecure leaders who create organizational poison while simultaneously sounding “in charge” or “forceful”, and 3) the leader must have a foundation – for many it is in a religious/theological background – there are different ways it is manifested, but some backing of the soul and spirit that has nothing to do with their business.
Wow! Top three qualities? If I had to pick just three – they would be: 1. A caring heart! You can manage people as assets but you can only lead if you see people as people above all else. Success always comes down to people, no system or process can possibly care, if you expect your people to be engaged and care, you must care FIRST. 2. A powerful vision! I talk to “leaders” everyday who claim to lead people and organizations – when I ask where they are leading them to I get lots of “deer in the headlights” looks. If a leader can’t say with a great deal of specificity where they are leading their people and company then I have to question whether they are really leading. 3. Impeccable Judgment. Great leaders get it wrong sometimes but they get the big decisions right. The make decisions based on facts and experience and they are not afraid to “trust their gut” when required. Above all else, they know that no decision is a decision and that no decision is almost always wrong.
So that’s my three – 2 and 3 can change a bit depending on exact conditions but number 1 is rock solid, exactly the way I like my leaders to be. 🙂
I’m in Mike Myatt’s camp on this one. What is required of leadership and the leader is highly contextual. The qualities and skills needed in one context may be different than what is needed in another. What I have found is that if a leader:
1. Lives the VALUES of the organiztion
2. Acts consistently in accordance with those VALUES, and
3. Inspires others to do the same
then the right people doing the right things get the job done.
I have liked the way you have summarized the traits of a successful leader. At the same time, the leader takes an overall responsibility of charting newer ways of success, shows the path and then takes the lead to inspire people to perform to reap good benefits.
Getting right people for right jobs is the job of a manager and not the leader. Working on strategic thinking, setting mindsets of people to perform consistently and bringing in innovation at work place to save on costs and increase per man productivity are the essentials of a good leadership.
Not the usual answers but what I believe are the top three qualities:
Passion for the cause – Motivates others and supplies the energy needed to keep delivering through adversity and hard times.
Empathy – A genuine ability to see things through the eyes of others.
The ability to help others understand complexity – the ability to enable others to understand your thoughts and the world round them is becoming increasingly more valuable in these complex times.
Ability to listen well, character, and a simple joy of life and work
I’ll go with the Three C’s
Competent – It’s hard to lead if you have no idea what you’re doing.
Compassionate – A dose of understanding every now and again will gain you many followers.
Creative – You need to be able to go in unusual directions and bring forth innovative ideas. Otherwise, you’re just following well-travelled roads that people are capable of travelling themselves, without your guidance, anyway.
David — interestingly enough I found myself looking at 6 C’s of leadership for my next book: Character, Courage, Communication, Collaboration, Concern, Contribution. It would take several pages (actually a book!) to explain these in detail — but I think this is the direction I am heading in as the key topics of this next book.
Hi Dan and John,
Great thought provoking stuff! I love that you say being over your head is part of leadership! With that said I think confidence has to be on the list of essential qualities of a leader. If you don’t have confidence in your own ability to get the job done even when you feel like you are over your head, no one else will believe in you either. I will also second previous commenters – honesty/integrity are essential and communication skills round out my top 3.
Love the setup… looking forward to reading Part 2!
Great comments and answers to the question “What are the top three qualities every leader should have?”
I especially liked comments from Wally Bock and Steve Keating, around frequent conversations, praising effort, caring hearts, and communicating your leadership vision!
On the topic of behaviors, 90% of our behaviors come from our subconscious – so focusing on behavior and behavior change makes sense. (Thanks to @WPowellCoaching for sharing that statistic!)
A leader should:
1. Have courage: without courage you cannot practice any other virtue consistently (again kudos to @WPowellCoaching)
2. Practice frequent, authentic connection with all members of the team (and herself/himself)
3. Celebrate effort and success consistently
The three answers I gave earlier were based on my experiences. For example, I managed employees who could not read or write, had addictions or were very poor. These employees were trained to expect bad things to happen to them if they did not do what was asked of them. In other words, it was very easy to manipulate them. It was my job as a manager to make an employee clean the bathroom because he/she felt pride in his/her work and about our store – not because he/she would be reprimanded if orders were not obeyed.
Each leadership quality I listed earlier has a story, a personal experience behind it.
And I’m sure other comments also came from somewhere – a personal place, maybe a hurtful or life-changing event that was witnessed or experienced. That’s what makes leadership fascinating. It’s real. It has the power to make a difference and it’s a never ever ending journey.
great post. Like the others it is difficult to just pick three qualities but for me they would have to be 1) Integrity 2) reliability and 3) humility. One could go on and list the descriptions of these three attributes and I believe we will find that thesse definitions would very nicely summarize what most of us would consider “must haves” to be a great leader.
If I had to mention three, I would have to use big words that encompass a whole lot of meaning and behavior. They would be:
Humility to facilitate teachability
Courage to do what’s right
Integrity to walk the talk
Lead From Where You Are
1. Sensitivity & empathy: a leader must be able to criticize and conduct difficult/candid conversations in a manner that is constructive and that helps the other person move forward
2. Ethics: act in the best interests of the company and its employees above all
3. Foresight: Manage for the long-term instead of relying on short-term expedient solutions
I would say 3 often under-rated are:
1. resiliency … so many times we get disappointed, betrayed, assaulted, mocked etc.
2. a great sense of humor
3. a good support network
Thanks for the great work Dan. You’ve got me thinking and seeing things differently as I strive to be a better leader. I’ve not been the person “in charge” for a long time now but I know that I will be in position of “authority” again some day. I still believe that I am a leader regardless of my job or job title. The qualities that I look for in a leader are:
1). Integrity. There should never be a question that the leader is honest, forthright and doing what is in the best interest of the organization they are leading.
2). Respect – One must give respect to earn respect.
3). The ability to teach and learn: A leader should be able to teach what they know and learn what they don’t know (and admit when they do not know).
Wow – I am deeply impressed by all of the comments. I can see that many of you also struggled with the challenge of getting it down to just three qualities. It will be interesting tomorrow when Dan reveals my full list! I also need to thank each of you who have commented so far – as I am in the early stages of writing another book – this one on the changing requirements of effective leadership! All of your feedback has been wonderfully helpful and I look forward to staying highly involved in the LeadershipFreak community and connecting directly with many of you (I am on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn). Thanks so much for your input and for your strong support and promotion of Dan’s blog – I will be sure to visit tomorrow to see where the conversation goes next!!!
I liked the format in which you brought the summary of 3 good traits of any leader to become successful and get the respect form all.
Based on my professional work experience and observation, I summarize the essential 3 qualities of a leader as under.
1. Positiveness with high ambition
2. Ability to pick up right good implementing team
3. Create a healthy work environment for people to contribute and bring healthy competition among them to excel throughout.
Three wonderful choices — I especially like the third — as I am seeing more and more that the ability to “build and foster a winning culture as a STRATEGIC DIFFERENTIATOR” is a KEY quality of a highly effective and successful leader. Thank you so much for all of your comments to this post Dr. Asher.
Thanks for extending your vies on the 3 choices as commented by me. I have liked the way you interpreted and brought the insight of having Strategic Differentiation to remain successful. This is quite true in real terms. We try to create a brand equity/image by working on such methods to stand out in a crowd. The key is consistency with innovation and superlative performance.
You may please continue to be on twitter not only with Dan but even other LF Community Members.
Amazing discussion…and very much needed. Great to see so many superb insights and perspectives. Thanks to Sonia for the kudos…very much appreciated!
My three leadership essentials would be:
1. Self awareness. A leader unaware can only go through the motions of leadership, but isn’t leading from a place of authenticity. You can’t be true or congruent with something of which you know little to nothing.
2. Authenticity. No one likes a fraud or someone who is “putting on their work mask”. It’s much easier to gain street cred when you are real about yourself…warts and all. People can relate to you much more easily.
3. Desire to see those around you succeed. Individual success comes via the success of others. If you are only trying to big note yourself, your leadership will pay the price. You will “lead” yourself right out of the place of having any influence or respect.
Will you be kind enough in sharing the gist of “Awesomely Simple” or is it possible for you to suggest how best to get a soft copy or hard copy of this book. Also, give further introduction of John Spence or include him as our LF Community Member.
Likewise, you can invite readers of your blog to share their experience in less than 300 words of their becoming successful in areas of their specialization. Each one will be too happy to eagerly contribute and help others to learn from their success tips.
I am writing a review of Awesomely Simple to be posted next week.
Thanks and thanks for suggestions.
You may invite views from your readers on the real life experience of remaining successful in the professional fields of their choice in less than 200 words and you can add your views/comments in less than 100 words for all to benefit.
I love how you get the Leadership Freak community thinking! Your question is simple yet very important. Here are the three attributes to a leader I find to be very important.
The first one is: INTEGRITY
When a leader’s actions, values, and principles all line up, it shows and allows for others to pursue interest in the leader’s doings.
The second is: POSTURE
When a leader demonstrates that he or she has posture, it demonstrates true belief and meaning in what they stand for. It expresses to others that they know they have some thing to give to others and are very willing to do so.
And the third is: PERSISTENCE
The ability to hang tough when the going gets tough. Being able to listen to people who disagree with you and giving those who do, the consideration to express their views and coming together in unity at the end of the discussion.
Thanks again Dan for getting some wheels turning. I am looking forward to what tomorrow brings us!
2. Effective Communicator (Vision, Direction, Purpose, Objectives)
3. Cares for the People
Brilliant post/interview Dan and so good to see so many people getting involved in the conversation. My three traits in no particular order are:
1) Vision – without vision a leader cannot set the direction for the tribe to follow
2) Courage – being able to lead by example and push themselves and other out of their comfort zones to achieve full potential
3) Interpersonal skills – Communication, Listening skills, Understanding of different people, personalities and motivations – OK this is a bit of a kop-out because its so hard to choose just 3 traits – If I had to pick one it would be communication!
Great stuff Dan. This post and comments will be great reference material for any aspiring leader, myself included!
I’m going to take the safe answer: I can’t limit it to three. I’ll give you four.
And yes, I cheated. These are the four factors of transformational leadership, support by decades of research on effective leaders.
Wow, I feel about as necessary as a screen door on a submarine at this point because there are so many insightful comments from people I know and respect. It does feel impossible to narrow this down to just three, but since you asked here are my three.
1. Personal Leadership – A leader must see the value in taking care of themselves and living a balanced. An unbalanced life leaves a leader depleted and vulnerable to poor decision-making on a number of levels.
2. Integrity – This encompasses a set of values that keeps the leader’s motives pure and builds trust with those being led by being a person of their word. People know in their gut when they are being used and patronized.
3. Boldness – The willingness to try new things and move in different direction than the current trends and prevailing attitudes of the day. Being a trendsetter rather than a trend-keeper.
Wonderful dialog you’ve orchestrated!
😉 Way to demonstrate the value of humor Bridget, had a great laugh at your first comment and identified well.
Integrity, Organizational skills & Charisma
The three qualities of a leader that come to my mind are as follows:
1) Effective communicator (oral & written)
2) Effective listener
3) Effective servant
I also like the comments from others about the importance of finding a great mentor. Surrounding yourself with passionate people in your profession is infectious! Great blog post!
My 3 would be: vision, integrity and empowerment.
Thanks for launching this thread.
Great blog as always! My simple 3 are:
1. Learnabiity – the sustaining factor
2. Humility – the selfless factor
3. Listening – the longevity factor
My top 3 would be:
1- Listen Sincerely & Compassionately
2 – Do as you say. Be Authentic
3 – Be Courageous, the kind of leader People choose to follow.
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I gotta say the three H’s
They are fundamental to leadership.
Three best quality of a leader should be integrity, empathy and sacrifice. Leader should have integrity so that followers should trust him and this creates a relation based on trust and belief and it is probably the first and foremost strong structure for leadership. The second quality is to feel, sense and views the things from others perspective. It gives a holistic, selfless and different perspective to understand others. The third quality is to sacrifice time, money, comfort to provide service to needy, underpriviledged and destitutes. The third quality is the most challenging one and it takes a lot of courage to exercise it.
I think, there are other qualities that are required but most of the qualities are either the outcome or embedded in these three qualities.
Dear Ajay Kumar,
The 3 best qualities as listed by you are the backbone and essentials to get accepted by others. But how about the most critical items like great vision, choosing the right people to make things happen and beating the competition with constant innovation.
There is a big difference betweem Leaders and Managers. We often commit mistakes while listing qualities/traits of a leader and mix up things without realizing the difference.
Leaders are champions as far as all good qualities whar are needed to remain successful. There are specific things what makes them real leaders. Consider things like competencies, knowledge and conviction. Not everyone can dream of such things. One has to strive hard and build the castles with solid foundation and artistic skills to make these as a unique monument for people to recognise and appreciate.
This gets right to the heart of the subject, absolutely fantastic question, Dan.
Here are my three:
(1) Know and control yourself first, before attempting to lead others.
(2) Transcend ritual & cliche when communicating and listening.
(3) Never send others to places you wouldn’t first go yourself.
Another brilliant article, and no points of contention too – bravo.
Top 3 – Communicate – Educate and Delegate
Interesting questions, I would venture that the three key traits would be:
Authenticity, honesty and tenacity…
Clearly there is more than one “formula” and no one size fits all but in today’s ever changing world with hyper competition a business, public sector or even NGO leader would need a host skills and personality traits tempered with the three above.
Authenticity is and will be a key ingredient in managing the next generation workforce as well the only way of connecting emotionally with a highly cynical public… Honesty ties in with it but the ability to say it as it is, candor, must be the norm and finally Tenacity… You gotta have staying power, the ability to manage long term in a short term world, don’t shy away for necessary “battles” i.e the ability to see long term impact of tough decisions left undone and argue even fight for these especially if you are in middle management…
Authenticity, honesty and tenacity… My take!
As author of Lead, Sell or Get Out of the Way, my top three qualities of leaders are:
1) They have a vision of where they want to go and are committed to making it happen
2) They listen to their market and create an environment for everyone to succeed
3) They do not let their ego drive their decision process.
Good post followed by good conversation by some very good folks.
I love the question and wish more people in positions of leadership would ask this of themselves and / or be willing to see that they ‘need’ to ask this.
My top three qualities of a good leader are:
1) Humility (and knowing you have gifts that were given to you and you have nurtured, but they are gifts. Be humbled by that.)
2) Vision (to see the ‘whole’ picture, the ‘future’ picture, the ‘history’ that got you and your company or following to this point, and the ‘vision or dream’ that will get you where you need to be and need to go.)
3) Giving Heart (and not a mindset that says ‘I’m-the-leader-do-as-I-say-period). This quality of a giving heart will inherently result in thinking and leading ‘with a heart’ and not just with intelligence, instinct and experience.
My three qualities would be:
1) Listening – because so many CEOs and managers talk too much and rarely listen to their team.
2) Inspiring – this is the most important, I think. Getting people inspired to have great ideas, to deliver great customer service, whatever.
3) Empowering – empowering their team to take responsibility and lead.
Top of the list is the ability to inspire. Leaders inspire people to do amazing things and go beyond their limits. And that one word encapsulate so many things, such as an ability to communicate, to set objectives that are understood, to know what the right moment is to offer feedback and so much more.
Second is focus. A leader knows what has to be done, what it takes to get there and has the grit and determination to move things forward. Even if that means making unpopular decisions.
Third is decision making. Leaders can make tough decisions (even ones that commit people to their deaths), they can make them quickly and then can adapt their decisions rapidly based on incoming information.
My top three:
1 – Values-aligned = leaders who are clear about the principles they live their lives by are trusting and trustworthy
2 – Servant heart = leaders who are focused on serving their staff, helping them succeed, and celebrating their wins (large & small) create true followership
3 – FUN = the work we do often involves some enjoyable activities and some not-so-enjoyable activities. A leader with a sense of humor can create a fun work culture that inspires followers
Integrity, Humility and Courage
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