Yesterday I added my two cents on sensationalism across so many aspects of our lives. Today - I want to share my perspectives on the signs of a great leader. Not the sensationalism oriented gurus that seem to be popular today. Those approaches may not be the best to follow. As Dale Carnegie said, "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain -- and most fools do."
So how do we know when we're following a true leader? Well, that's something we all have to decide for ourselves. But I have some ideas about what it takes to excel- as an expert and a leader. So here's my list.
1. Positive, no Matter What.
Leaders don't jump on the easy bandwagon of negativity. A true leader is determined to find the positive no matter how ugly things appear. They hold fast to their positive vision - tirelessly seeking the best outcome for all. Anyone can throw in the towel and succumb to negative, woe-is-me, finger-pointing thinking. Leaders rise above the negative path - finding positive aspects in any situation to help their followers find a better way to live and grow.
2. Problem Solving.
When there are issues, leaders focus on solving them in the most expedient way possible. They don't start a witch hunt to find out who caused the problem or succumb to the almighty diss. That won't solve anything, now will it? Leaders roll up their sleeves and dive into problem solving mode. They inspire others to do the same - leveraging expertise and a positive focus to solve the issue and move on.
3. The Guts to Be a Winner.
Those with true expertise usually also have the guts to spit in the face of a business storm and come out a winner.They don't collapse under the weight of negative commentary, shudder when the naysayers gather like a pack of wolves. They stand up and come out fighting with every positive aspect in their bones. Their inspiration teaches all of us how to be winners in the face of the negative storms that are bound to hit us - thanks to all the sensational gurus out there.
4. Thoughtful Commentary.
Leaders don't run around pointing to others saying things like 'just look at that lousy product, look at how stupid those other vendors are'. No way. Leaders are thoughtful and constructive with every word that comes from their mouths. Our words are one of the most powerful things we own. Leaders know that, and are thoughtful with their words. When they comment - it's always in the spirit of positive, helpful and supportive advice or wisdom. Even when they point out an issue - they follow it with a recommendation for how that issue can become a strength. Their words are always used to inspire and lift their followers.
5. Consistency and Integrity.
Leaders value their own integrity above all else. They refuse to sacrifice that integrity no matter how large their potential gain. Leaders have consistent, fair and well-founded opinions. Yes, those opinions will evolve - they must to avoid getting stuck in the status quo. But when they do evolve, leaders will share the logic and reasoning behind that evolution. Then they'll be consistent with that evolved opinion. Leaders don't flop back and forth like a poor fish out of water, seeking a ride on the most popular tide.
6. Placing others before themselves.
Leaders know that the 'good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.' They place the good of their followers above themselves, their fame, their fortunes. Great leaders are servants - placing the value they provide above all else. My dear friend Bob Burg and his co-author John David Mann say it best in Go Givers and Go Givers Sell More, 'It's not about you, It's about them.' Great leaders live by that rule.
7. No Chest Thumping.
Leaders quickly let us all know they are just like the rest of us. No secret clubs or witty asides to other 'gurus' showing how much they are in the know (and implying the rest of us aren't worthy). Leaders do everything they can to make others feel special because they are focused on lifting their followers - not themselves.
8. Thumper Rules! Leaders follow Thumpers' lead.
'If you can''t say something nice, then don't say anything at all.' Right now, I'm wishing the sensationalists among us would do the same.
So - what did I miss? Are there other signs we're with a positive leader instead of a sensationalist or drama queen? Let me know!