12 Most Optimum “O” Oddities of Great Leaders
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” ~ Sam Walton
Are you enjoying this 12 Most ABC’s of Leadership series? Are you writing down your favorites from each list — and then striving to build them into your own leadership profile? You can catch up by reading the 12 Most Nitty-Gritty “N” Notes of Great Leaders.
Meanwhile, let’s check out these 12 optimum oddities for obstacle obliterating leadership…
I grew up in Texas, and I loved oak trees. Oaks are commonly associated with strength, endurance and durability. They also have dense canopies of leaves that can protect you from the sun or an unexpected rain shower. Yet each oak tree starts from the humble beginnings of a single acorn.
Great leaders frequently start from humble beginnings, and they grow to provide strength and protection while providing shelter from the sudden storms that can strike an organization.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably.” Leaders have to fight human nature when it comes to bias, prejudices or making emotional decisions in stressful situations. They must remain objective in all circumstances.
I have become “kinder and gentler” as I’ve matured. However, prior to making decisions out of kindness, I made decisions based upon a strong sense of obligation for other people. Leaders feel a burden of obligation for their team members’ well-being.
If you have been reading all of the posts in this 12 Most ABCs of Leadership series, you know I favor decisive action and explosive adjectives! Great leaders obliterate obstacles to success on their way to guiding organizations to the decisive obliteration of their competition — with fair and square integrity, I might add.
We frequently look to our leaders to be outspoken and dynamic. However, much can be learned by simply observing. Leaders observe their employees, company culture and morale, financial bottom lines, and changes in both resource and market demands. Their observations lead to actionable intelligence that best positions the company to succeed.
No, I do not mean to be callous and impolite! Remember, I like active leaders, and the football adage is “the best defense is a good offense.” Great leaders keep the competitors’ offenses off the field with a consistent, ball-control strategy that keeps the home team’s brand at the top of consumers’ minds. If your competitors can’t even get on the competitive playing field to score points with the customer, then you win! Focus on strategy and execution when you are offensive — no “three and outs” or your company may punt you as their leader!
Remember, these leadership posts are written by a guy who loves sports analogies!
OK, it is absolutely impossible to be omnipresent — to be present everywhere at the same time. However, leaders do not sit in their ivory towers. They are meeting new client prospects, sitting in strategy and project meetings, walking the halls to engage employees, and looking for every opportunity to evangelize for the company brand. They are a consistent and active presence!
Heads-up leaders always have their eyes open to opportunities. These opportunities may be aligned with current corporate strategy, they may be new and radical ideas that are not currently pursued by the organization, or they could even be “addition by subtraction”…consolidating and providing a more narrow focus for the existing strategy.
Which viewpoint do you have: Do you feel that great leaders would be great regardless of their circumstances and environment? Or, do you feel that great leaders are great because they are ideally suited to their specific circumstances?
Optimum leaders provide the perfectly timed guidance to an organization, so it can flourish in the current circumstances.
Peter Drucker stated, “No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.” Organizations do not consistently succeed if they always require Herculean efforts by individuals. Organized leaders put processes and leaders in place to equip average employees to succeed.
To be outrageous is to “pass reasonable bounds.” It is daring to be both unconventional and remarkable. In a competitive marketplace, I strongly believe the outrageous leaders — who do not accept the safe status quo — will meet the greatest success. Be fundamental, but always be willing to look beyond your current limitations!
I think “outspoken” is one of the first characteristics you see in budding leaders. These are the new employees in an organization who are not afraid to ask “why?” They look at processes, product design, marketing campaigns, or management practices — and then they are willing to put their credibility on the line by suggesting better alternatives.
Look at your organization — can you spot the outspoken team members who show glimpses of natural leadership? Do you nurture that behavior with the goal of building a better organization?
Which characteristic do you find most important for optimum leadership? Do not let these oddities bring your leadership down: oafish, oblivious, obnoxious, obscene, obsolete, obstinate, obstructive, obtuse, offending, oily (not trustworthy), oppressive, and overconfident.
Featured image courtesy of mrjoro licensed via Creative Commons.