Over the weekend I was writing a paper on leadership and I remembered coming across a quote from Tom Landry, and as I was looking for a definition on leadership I couldn’t think of a better definition that really embodied what leadership truly was:
“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” – Tom Landry (Greatest Football Coach…Ever)
And while quotes like this fail to really define the gargantuan task of actually leading others, it’s a good place to start.
So then I got to thinking, well what makes someone a good leader? I came up with three things:
- The ability to build trust
- Strong communication skills
Many of the leaders that I know in my own life were people who were able to easily gain my trust, not because they asked for it, but rather; they demonstrated 1) competency in our respective fields, 2) they took a genuine interest in my personal and professional well-being, and 3) they all had integrity. Building trust takes time, especially in a workplace setting, but these three factors of trustworthiness will make the process somewhat smoother, and if you happen to run into some bumps along the way, revisit each one individually and figure where you need to make some adjustments.
As for communication, I have always harped: “communication is essential for any relationship whether business or personal.” Learn to foster open and honest communication with your team members. In a work environment this is critical, I’ve met plenty of managers who are unable to communicate effectively and it shows in their leadership style and how they are regarded by their team’s. Learn to say what needs to be said, just don’t be an ass about it.
Lastly, learn to be versatile, learn how to adapt your communication to meet your audience’s needs, learn how to adapt to change. For some this may be easier said than done, but if you can commit to learning to operate outside of your normal comfort zone, eventually this process becomes much easier, but like all good things, it will take a significant commitment from you to make the necessary changes to improve your overall versatility.
I hope that I have shared something worthwhile for you, if not, perhaps you can share some of your thoughts on what makes leaders tick in the comments section.
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