“Transformational leaders are important because they make choices that most other leaders would not.” -Joseph Nye
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself the question - What kind of leader am I?
People and organizations are constantly seeking out ways of developing their leadership because I believe those who are serious about growth understand that success starts with leadership.
Over the last two decades, I have been under many leaders in professional, religious, and civic sectors. No one leader led the same, but they demonstrated qualities that directly impacted their followers and the growth of their organizations.
How are you leading your followers or your organization?
If you want to take your career or organization to the next level there are a few questions you must ask yourself. Here are some questions you should as yourself regularly:
1. Am I Approachable?
A good leader is an approachable leader. You want people to feel comfortable and willing to openly communicate with you.
Many people view leaders as sitting at the top of a mountain isolated. Others believe leaders should be tough, strong, and intimidating. All of these are misconceptions of a good leader.
To become an approachable leader:
- Welcome other people’s feedback
- Avoid overreacting
- Show appreciation to your team
- Share your failures/mistakes
2. Am I Gracious?
The success of any individual or an organization is dependent on the graciousness of a leader. Good leaders give respect before they demand respect from others.
The one word that describes the leader lacking graciousness is selfish. Leaders that aren’t gracious think everything is about them. No one can grow to their maximum potential without being gracious because it takes the help of others.
To become a gracious leader:
- Show empathy
- Show forgiveness
- Show humility
- Show humanity
- Show appreciation
- Show compassion
3. Am I Real?
Are you real? Being dishonest is the only alternative to being real. We can all appreciate a person who tells us the truth. But make sure you are constructively telling the truth.
Bad bosses tell the truth any kind of way and expect their followers just to deal with it. You may have worked for a boss or two with this attitude.
There is nothing wrong with telling people the truth, but be careful of intentionally hurting and picking with the people who are following you. Remember the words of American leadership author and speaker John Maxwell, “He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.” Don’t hurt your followers or your leadership by being real without graciousness.
To become a real leader:
- Be yourself
- Constructively tell the truth
- Be courageous
- Be transparent
4. Am I Consistent?
All the points aforementioned are vital to the success of a leader, but this may be the most important. You want to approachable, gracious, and real as a leader. But it has to be done consistently.
Inconsistency of a leader will destroy a individual’s ability to be an effective leader. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. If I say I’m going to be somewhere, I’m there. Success for any leader has a lot to do with your ability to follow through.
To become a consistent leader:
- Honor your commitments
- Focus on the project at hand
- Plan your work, meetings, and other activities
- Keep a schedule
- Set deadlines
5. Am I Collaborative?
You can exist as a good leader without relying on the intelligence and resourcefulness of others. Doing things solo is a great way to kill your leadership and any growth of your organization.
Calibration is an essential ingredient if you want to be a successful leader. You heard the about the acronym for T.E.A.M. - Together Everyone Achieves More. Your growth is dependent on successfully involving the right people. Collaboration is a great way to promote innovation.
To become a collaborative leader:
- Develop relationships
- Develop a collaborative strategy
- Ask for advice from your team and other leaders
- Bring new ideas of others to the table to problem solve
- Help others develop relationships
Leading can be a daunting task, but you can solidify the success of leadership if you will stop and think about how you are leading. Your life and the health of your organization will be determined by how you decide to move forward as a leader.
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