12 Most Awesome “A” Attributes for Great Leaders
When I wrote the 12 Most “In Words” to be in Leadership, I knew I wanted to get around to an alphabetical series of adjectives describing strong leaders. Doing my simple math, that would be 12 x 26 = 312 adjectives to print out and keep in a desk drawer — or make a mural! In my opinion, if we carry off just 12 of these adjectives our teams will flourish.
I will try to throw some curves — some “reaches” — just to keep the readers guessing. So let’s get started with the “A’s,” shall we?
I’m starting out with a little humor. Androgynous means to possess both male and female qualities. So before you start cross-dressing or calling yourself Androgynous Pat, this is what I mean: you should cultivate sensitivity regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or any other demographic attribute. Not every employee may respond well to “rub some dirt in it” or “let’s all hold hands and sing ‘We Are the World’” attitudes. We should adapt to support our employees as much as possible. Personally, I balance my love for contact sports with participating in #FunFoodFriday and #Caturday on Facebook and Google+. I am not ashamed!
Avuncular leaders treat their team members with kindness while indulging in their individuality to the point where it contributes to a positive team dynamic. The key is to keep that avuncular attitude open to all versus developing a divisive or preferential environment.
Team members need to know their leaders are accessible to them. Strong leaders keep an open door policy and invite input on several channels like email, conference calls, all-hands meetings and one-on-one meetings.
Leaders should exhibit appropriate behavior at all times. Discrimination and harassment are reprehensible. True leaders seek to live their professional and personal lives above reproach.
Leaders are unyielding in their commitment to team goals and morale. When projects go through a “rough patch,” team members need to know that their leader is a strong foundation they can rely upon to weather the storm.
Leaders should be agreeable when team members present new ideas. They should also be open to critiquing from both team members and clients. Unbiased critiques can be the best drivers for professional growth.
It doesn’t take a strong leader to maintain the status quo. Strong leaders encourage new ideas as well as establish an ambitious long-range vision attainable through the accomplishment of short-term, incremental goals.
Even the alphas — the superstar employees — want to be astonished. Whether astonishing through generosity, innovation, or flexibility regarding work/life balance, leaders separate themselves from the pack. Never make it solely about compensation because then the superstars simply go to the highest bidder. Be astonishing!
Have you heard the expression “Best laid plans of mice and men?” Requirements change, markets fall, and personal obstacles crop up faster than you can say Murphy’s Law. Rather than becoming the manager with three letters, strong leaders do not become defensive and look to place blame. Instead, they use mental and emotional agility to adapt for the changing conditions.
Good leaders are generally successful. Great leaders achieve resounding success shared by their team. Good leaders always seem to achieve enough to pad the resume to land the next job. Great leaders show interest and nurture talent from within their team that becomes capable of sustaining success indefinitely.
This gets back to ensuring that compensation is not strictly monetary for team members. Great leaders show appreciation for valuable contributors. Providing awards and recognition in front of their peers builds strong loyalty among team members. I actually had a partner who helped an employee buy a transmission on Craigslist, and then he spent the entire weekend helping him replace that transmission. That type of sincere appreciation is hard to copy!
Employees want to know you are the same person every day and in every circumstance. They want to know they can look you in the eye and see no guile or hidden agendas. They want to know that when they turn their back, you’ve “got their back.” Great leaders are “as honest as the day is long.”
I will end each of these posts with adjectives you never want associated with your name. For the “A-List,” you never want to be abhorrent, abrasive, abrupt, abusive, amorous, apathetic or arrogant!
Which A-Attribute best describes you? Which attribute do you hope to attain in your own leadership journey?
Featured image courtesy of Creative Commons via seriykotik1970.