In my previous post, we explored the two most important leadership qualities. Number one is character, which is essential for effective leadership. All other leadership traits such as working hard, treating people fairly, caring for others, and being honest and truthful flow from being a person of high character.
The second characteristic effective leaders employ is vulnerability. Being able to admit you are wrong – and there will be a time when that happens – or asking for forgiveness when apologizing for a mindless blunder shows followers that you are human. This vulnerability results in building trust with people around you.
So how does a leader display these two qualities on an everyday basis? What is the practical working out of these two characteristics? While there are dozens or even hundreds of small instances where character and vulnerability are shown throughout a day, the overall mindset of effective leaders should simply be to help those people around them be better.
That business philosophy has allowed me to enjoy a fantastic career across different industries, different job functions, and even different countries. As a leader or supervisor, I’ve always had two goals:
1. Make the people reporting to me successful.
2. Make my boss look good.
If I do those two things well, what happens to me? I’ll be successful as well! In fact, it would be almost impossible for me not to be successful if I was surrounded by success.
For those people I’m leading, my objective is to constantly set them up for success. Get them the tools or training they need that allows them to do their job. Remove some obstacle standing in their way of completing a project. Give career advice or make personal and professional connections that might advance their career. Always be available to help in any way I can.
For my boss, I’m always thinking, “How can I make her look good to her supervisor and peers?” What can I do to advance my supervisor’s career? Supporting my supervisor’s business goals and objectives should propel him to higher levels of responsibility. What happens to me if my boss moves up? I will hopefully draft right along in the wake of his success.
Have there been times when I’ve fallen short of this philosophy? Yes, and the results have been less than desirable for me. For those few times, I have apologized to the appropriate people (vulnerability) and taken a step forward in my character development by vowing not to repeat that particular mistake and striving to do better next time.
Radio host and author Denis Prager said it well one day as he was talking about husbands and wives (I believe it was during his fantastic weekly Male/Female Hour). He asked if you (the radio listener) make your spouse a better person. He then expanded that thought to a much wider circle by asking if you make your friends better.
Fabulous questions! So let me ask you:
Do you make your teams better?
Do you make your boss better?
Do you make your company better?
So how do you show your leadership skills on an everyday basis?
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.