Published on LinkedIn
Much has been written about leadership but is anyone following the leader? It requires the unique traits and characteristics of the leader to truly inspire their organization to follow them. It must be authentic. Your reputation, what your name stands for, how you carry yourself, instilling trust and keeping your word, are among the most important and powerful elements of creating “followership.” What are some of the traits I’ve observed of great leaders who inspire their organization to achieve new heights?
People follow great leaders who challenge their own beliefs. They are humble enough to recognize there are smarter people in the room that they can learn from. They are comfortable in their own skin to surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are, with diverse perspectives to help them answer tough questions. Terms like “thinking outside of the box,” and “connecting the dots” cropped up as leadership requirements when I was coming up in business. Now, there’s “no box!” So, leaders should flex their creativity muscles as much as possible.
People follow great leaders who are radically transparent and model it for others. Transparency has a way of creating a culture of respect, openness, and dignity where backstabbing, gossip, and throwing people under the bus is left behind. It’s about the team — about strong relationships, collaboration and getting results.
People follow great leaders who recognize that we are in an age of unprecedented technological advancement. They develop their own competency by continuously learning and gathering expertise across multiple fields, not just their own. They also champion a culture of continuous learning within the organization, sending a clear message that growing your people is one of their highest priorities.
People follow great leaders who have mentors and pick them carefully. Mentors they can approach for wisdom and honest feedback. They find tried-and-true mentors with a high degree of integrity they, and others, admire and would like to emulate.
People follow great leaders who build strong relationships. I can’t stress this enough. You will need to become savvy about how to build networks and relationships. All of us will need better skills in listening, communicating and facilitating groups, because these are the talents that build strong relationships.
Great leadership is about serving others. Leadership is not dictating, commanding, or imposing your views on others. There’s an old adage that says “the customer comes first.” I submit to you that the customer comes second and your employees come first. It is about empowering others to achieve their goals, bringing out the best in people, putting their needs ahead of your own, and helping people develop and reach their highest potential. In the end, your customers will come to benefit from this enthusiasm in your workforce.
So I ask again, is anyone following you?
Aisling Executive Coaching Ltd.