Leadership is a decision. It is born our of a desire to see something significant happen for, in and through the lives of others.
Leadership is not chasing or cherishing a position, but choosing to serve for the good of those you lead.
If you choose to lead you can develop the qualities of a leader worth following.
What are these qualities?
The Six Disciplines
My friend, Dr. Jim Laub, is the author of the Organizational Leadership Assessment, a heavily researched model of servant leadership. He identifies six disciplines that when practiced make for effective leadership, and an effective organization.
1. Provide Leadership. This involves establishing vision and direction. Paint a clear picture of the preferred future.
Take into account the dreams and aspirations of those you lead. They need to see themselves in the picture. Test your vision with them, and be open to their input.
Articulate the vision clearly, deliver it passionately, and implement it relentlessly.
I have found, particularly in smaller organizations, that being caught up in management costs you effective leadership. Do all you can to free yourself from operational management so you can champion the vision and develop strategies to fulfill it.
2. Build Community. Healthy relationships result in organizational enjoyment and effectiveness. Partnership, collaboration, and teamwork are terms that describe community. But they need to be more than words.
Genuine caring, understanding the needs of those you lead, embracing differences, and personal presence – engaged presence – are strong indicators of a healthy community.
What are the community-building steps you are taking as a leader?
3. Value People. Listening to, trusting, and serving those you lead communicates they are valued. Joel Manby, President and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, and the author of Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders draws his leadership principles from, “The Love Chapter” of the Bible – 1 Corinthians 13.
- Be patient
- Be kind
- Be trusting
- Be unselfish
- Be truthful
- Be forgiving
- Be dedicated
When these qualities are consistently practiced people feel valued.
4. Display Authenticity. At its core leadership is a trust relationship between the leader and the led. To be authentic is to be real – open, honest, and unmasked.
I can admit my failures, weaknesses, and shortcomings. This creates connection with those I leave. We are on the same level playing field and I can learn from them.
5. Develop People. Providing learning opportunities, involving people in the decisions that directly affect them, and delivering encouragement and affirmation helps people improve in what they do, as well as advance in the level of their responsibilities.
Everyone needs appreciation, and effective leaders recognize the contributions of others. They give public praise, and know how to celebrate victories.
6. Share Leadership. Effective leaders consider themselves a resource rather than a director. They see those they lead as partners.
Sharing leadership involves dispersing power and decision-making authority, creating an environment where people are free to take initiative and deferring tot others who have more expertise.
Leaders must be intentional about these six disciplines if they are to be effective. Do they mark you leadership?
In which of the six disciplines can you improve?