“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” ~ Jim Rohn
Let’s get started on discovering what it takes to be kickass leaders, shall we?
Remember being captivated as a child when looking through a kaleidoscope? The colors would flow, and then they would settle into beautiful organization. Great leaders are kaleidoscopic with their capability to go with the flow and find order amongst chaos.
“Keen” means both to be shrewd and to be enthusiastic. Great leaders are shrewd when negotiating terms on a major deal, acquiring key human and productivity resources, and crafting brand perception. They also enthusiastically support the teams they assemble.
We usually hear the antonym of this attribute: unkempt. Great leaders are neat when it comes to both personal appearance and company affairs. They understand the importance of that first impression to clients, consumers, investors or even job candidates they are interviewing to assume key roles within the organization.
Great leaders are key to their organizations’ successes. Pablo Picasso said “Action is the foundational key to all success.” Demonstrate active leadership, and you will be key to your team’s success.
If you want to balance between “why am I here watching this goofy movie” with a few good chuckles, you should check out Kickass. Now, imagine if this little girl grew up to be your team leader! No wincing and no whining…
In my 12 Most Jack-Be-Nimble Characteristics of Great Leaders post, I talked about “jugular hunting.” Now I mention “Killer,” and some of you probably want to recommend a good therapist for me! My goal is to find leaders with killer instincts. They balance objectivity while under duress with a burning passion to succeed. They are willing to make the tough, and sometimes unpopular, decisions. Their self-confidence also permits them to admit and learn from their mistakes.
You are probably starting to look up that therapist’s phone number now. I obviously have a split personality to be looking for a Killer… who is kind?!? I am looking for that leader who is capable of being a honey badger to all outside antagonists while setting an example of disciplined kindness with the internal team.
Here is a poetry snippet courtesy of Thomas Carew: “Good to the poor, to kindred dear, / To servants kind, to friendship clear, / To nothing but herself severe.” Leaders inspire a kindred spirit with their teammates as they cultivate the belief in their mutual success.
I tend to be a “little” high energy when speaking or coaching. I once told a martial arts student that I could teach him how to open that door… and I could do it with “bouncing off the walls excitement” about the possibilities this new skill would bring. Energy is contagious — choose to make it a constructive, kinetic energy that charges the team with potential before launching it into action.
Hmm, this guy is talking about jugular-hunting, killers — remember when he made that Dexter reference — we should remove all sharp objects from his house. I am perfectly sane, people! I simply place high value on aggressive, relentless leadership. And just like you prune a tree to keep it healthy, or cut out cancerous tissue to save a body, great leaders sometimes have to remove dead wood or cancerous personalities to maintain a vibrant organization.
A popularized quote is “chivalry is dead.” Great leaders do not subscribe to this popular opinion! There is still room in this world for courtesy and honor. Great leaders open doors, so that others may pass first. They treat the new intern with the same respect as other members in the C-level suite. Ralph Waldo Emerson nailed it when he said, “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” Knowledgeable leaders apply their education, and their life and career experiences, so they are key to their teams’ successes.
Do not let these 12 “Leader Killer” attributes derail your own leadership: Kafkaesque (menacingly complex), kaput, kayoed (knocked out), kickable, killable, kinky, kitschy (vulgar or pretentious), kleptomaniacal, klutzy, kooky, knackered, and knavish.
Be a Knight — not a Knave! And let us know your favorite “K” attributes of Kickass Leaders.
Featured image courtesy of mag3737 licensed via Creative Commons.
I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am very excited about our Pulse Analytics SaaS social media monitoring solution for measuring consumer sentiment and supporting social engagement. I enjoy teaching and coaching. I graduated UT-Austin.