12 Most Jack Be Nimble “J” Characteristics of Great Leaders
Jack, be nimble,
Jack, be quick,
Jack, jump over
The candle stick.
Jack knew what it meant to be a leader! Great leaders have to be nimble as they adjust to the daily trials that come with leading an organization. They have to be quick with their decision making. They also have to jump over obstacles to success — without getting burned in the process!
You can catch up to this 12 Most ABCs of Leadership series by reading the 12 Most Inspiring “I” Indicators of Great Leaders.
Let’s kick off this post with a jam session, shall we? When you are jammin’, you are rockin’… when you are rockin’, you are clickin’… and when you are clickin’ as an organization, you are succeeding. Be jammin’!
Sometimes a great leader needs to jar an organization, and its employees, back to reality. Perhaps a team has lost its edge and become complacent due to early successes. Leaders are prepared to deliver the wake-up call.
How long do we have to wait for this adjective to hit the Urban Dictionary? Instead of “Be Like Mike,” great leaders will want to “Be like Steve Jobs.” Be decisive and convicted in those decisions. Choose to not follow the crowd sometimes, and boldly go where conventional wisdom might exclaim “DON’T GO THERE”. Remain focused, and keep it simple. As Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
Jocular leaders can be amusing, lighthearted, and even downright mischievous. A little humor and charisma goes a long way to leading an organization while keeping the stress levels down.
Similar to jarring, great leaders know how to jolt organizations with an infusion of energy. This isn’t “running around like a chicken with your head cut off” energy! It is purposeful. It is a celebration of team successes, or a dynamic rallying of the troops after recent failures.
Ethical journalists pay attention to details, remain objective, double-check their facts, and ensure the credibility of their sources. Many of the most famous journalists also have a keen sense of history.
Great leaders remain impartial, and they strive to distance themselves from subjective preferences that could impact their decision-making. They also look to the leadership of “those who have gone before” — like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell — when modeling their own careers.
A common theme throughout this ABCs of Leadership series is “celebrate your victories.” Sure, it is important to keep your perspective and not become complacent after a success. Great leaders never rest on their laurels! However, team members need to look forward to some victory celebrations, and decompression from stress, before buckling down and chasing the next goal. Celebrating success is definitely a great (and fun) time to lead by example.
I love this quote from past Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter: “Judicial judgment must take deep account of the day before yesterday in order that yesterday may not paralyze today.” Leaders review events and conditions that may impact project success. They then make the necessary course corrections to keep projects on track.
Niccoló Machiavelli said “In the actions of men, and especially of Princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means.” Companies look to great leaders to justify their means, and their decision-making, with consistent success. Unlike the Princes of Old, we live in a “what have you done for me lately” society. If leaders do not justify their authority with proven success, companies will find new leaders.
I love watching and playing sports. Some elite athletes have that “killer instinct.” To be a little graphic, they take control of the match/game and never relinquish that control. They “step on their opponent’s throat” whenever the opponent tries to mount a comeback. They do not get nervous, and they do not switch their aggressive game to a “playing not to lose” mentality. Anybody who has ever watched football hates it when their team goes into a “prevent defense.”
Great leaders do not let success breed a fear of failure. They setup their companies to achieve success, and then they GO FOR IT!
An English art historian by the name of Horace Walpole had a great method for evaluating judicious thoughts:
“The sure way of judging whether our first thoughts are judicious, is to sleep on them. If they appear of the same force the next morning as they did overnight, and if good nature ratifies what good sense approves, we may be pretty sure we are in the right.”
Great leaders are decisive; however, they do not make rash decisions/statements and they do not flaunt their authority. They are judiciously patient and always model “good sense.”
To be juvenescent is to have the power to make young or youthful. My oldest daughter gave a speech at her high school commencement. She encouraged her fellow seniors to not become completely jaded and distracted by the world. Instead, she reminded them to occasionally look about with a “childlike wonder.”
Great leaders understand the importance of occasionally pressing the reset button on their perspectives. We are colored by our experiences, but we should not be restricted by them.
Which “J” leadership characteristic best describes YOU? Where could your leadership use a little adjusting?
Be like Jack Be Nimble and avoid getting burned by staying away from these 12 “J” attributes: jabbering, jaded, jailed, jealous, jeering, jerkish, jinxed, jittery, joyless, judgmental, jumpy (nervous and looking over the shoulder), and juvenile.
Featured image courtesy of milesopie licensed via Creative Commons.