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Friday, October 12, 2012

Leader Spotting - Five Indicators That You Have a Natural Leader in Your Midst

In my years of experience working with organizations, I've had the opportunity to work with managers at different levels and I dare say that not all of them are leaders. However, I also met a lot of true leaders and not all of them are managers!  I wish to share with you today what makes them the real deal in my eyes by sharing their stories.

The Vision Salesman
I met this CEO of one company who likes to package his instructions into a set of pictures and road maps  He often depicts the present as an ok yet less ideal situation to be in and draw an attractive picture of what the future looks like if everyone agrees to traverse a path he has laid out. When I asked him when he learned to do this, he said that he has been like this since he can remember. He looks at leadership as the business of getting people on board on a mission. Doing it requires making the idea of going on a mission attractive and worth their time.

The Credible Activist
I borrowed this term from Dave Ulrich because I think it clearly represents a leadership quality that is required not only of human resource management professionals but leaders in general and leaders of less authority in particular. When I was HR Director at Athena E-Services, one of the junior managers approached me to present his idea on how we can incentivize employee performance. When I looked at how much details he put in his recommendation, I felt both embarrassed and proud. I was embarrassed that I should have thought of something like this myself being the HR Director and all but more proud to have found a leader who can do a heck of job of stepping up, challenging the process and recommending a much better alternative.

The People Developer
I'm always pleasantly surprised with non-HR Managers who call me and talk to me about their vision for their staff and how they wish to develop them to achieve their full potential. Nothing beats this guy whom I've met when I was just beginning my career as training consultant. A young IT supervisor from a Japanese manufacturing company talked to me about how he wants his team to work more effectively together because he wants to build a formidable IT team. What blew my mind is that he paid for it with his own money! That's because HR won't endorse what he believed the company needed to invest in! That's a perfect example of putting one's money where one's mouth is! This is of course, not to say that you have to spend your own money for people development but the mere act of going out of one's way to address people development needs is already an above the norm managerial behavior for me. I cannot tell you enough of the amount of frustrations I have for  managers who refuse to gain even a tiny bit of interest in their people's developmental needs.

The Intrapreneurs
Some managers like to work within the confines of their job descriptions. At exeQserve, I currently  work with young professionals, a lot of whom look at their responsibility as making profit for the company rather than accomplish these tasks or those. I've had the pleasure of seeing them take various routes not all of of which were successful to contribute to team success. We are not a perfect organization and we haven't achieved consistency in having that kind of mindset but I am optimistic that we are just a few corners to lasting success. That's because I have leaders in my organization, who like to think in terms of strategies and tactics and  lead 360 degrees to make things happen.

Trust Builder
I've had one manager I reported to in the past who didn't demonstrate much of the other characteristics  I mentioned above but very strong in this one which caused her to succeed as a leader in my book. She took four young trainers under her wings when she was assigned to a role she was terribly unfamiliar with and had no clue what to do with. I was part of that group. She had no pretension  Everybody knew she couldn't do training at that time and she didn't hide it. However, she was a great trust builder. She allowed communication to flow fluidly and unencumbered between her and the rest of the team. We could confidently tell her what we think, what needs changing and what needs throwing away altogether. She succeeded in turning these four young trainers into successful leaders in their own rights because she allowed them to have the confidence to speak up to her, agree and disagree with her without putting their jobs on the line. I would say that I owe much of what I know about mindful leadership because of the experience I've had working with her.

These characteristics while more natural for some can be learned by others. When you have true leaders in your company, you see processes change and improve. You see people growing and more engaged. There is so much benefits to have true leaders in your midst. Which leads me to ask, do you see any of these characteristics in your current managers? How far are you willing to go as the leader of leaders in your organizations to help them manifest these characteristics?

I Invite you to strengthen your managers' leadership abilities on  April 23 and 24, 2013 High Performance Leadership Workshop - November 22 and 23, 2012

1 comment:

  1. You can do leader spotting by looking at the five indicators for you.


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