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Betsy Myers’ book “Take the Lead” continues discussing major leadership traits with the following four components:
Clarity - Betsy Myers says creating a compelling vision that everyone in the organization can rally around is a key quality in good leaders. She says during Obama’s first presidential campaign the rallying cry was “Winning Iowa.” Knowing that vision all of the volunteers working on the campaign could then make decisions about every action they were taking - was it working towards that goal or not? When leaders provide clarity they provide a path for success for everyone following them, especially when they are able to communicate that vision effectively.
Collaboration - Ms. Myers says that the best solutions and lessons often come from seeking out differing perspectives than your own. A great leader is confident enough in themselves to ask for other’s opinions, knowing that they won’t always agree with his own. True collaboration means getting buy in from others in your organization, vendors, and customers. It means truly communicating what is going on in the organization even when it is tough (e.g. - during lay offs and restructuring). It is knowing that doing things together is what really pays off in the end rather than being a lone soldier.
Learning - a good leader is one who is continually learning and growing in order to become and remain a master in their field. She discusses Captain Sullenberger and how he landed the plane in the Hudson River in New York and saved so many lives as a result. When talking about it later he said it was because he had trained his whole life for this by continually learning about his trade and his field. She says you can also do this by getting mentors or being a mentor to others so that you are always learning.
Courage - finally Ms. Myers says the last trait of a great leader is Courage. “Courage is about pushing through our fears to live our most authentic life and do what we believe is right.” To live courageously takes a willingness to take risks, to try new things, and to go after what you are truly passionate about in life. It is about following your heart and demanding excellence in yourself and others.
Are you putting these qualities and traits to use in your organization? I truly believe that these are important qualities for a leader to possess in order to be successful and have other people want to follow you. Which one of these traits can you practice in the next couple of weeks?
Monica Thakrar has over 14 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.