Monday, October 27, 2008

24 Lessons in High-Performance Management

Lesson Five
Develop Characteristics of Great Leaders

Here is a list of 10 characteristics that are common in high performing leaders. They do not come naturally. Great leaders develop them. The characteristics of great leaders are universal and timeless. They reflect what leaders choose to believe and how they decide to behave. Great leaders demonstrate all ten characteristics––-regardless of their field.

1. Uncompromising integrity: It's the foundation for quality and service to both internal and external customers. The would-be leader who doesn't have this will be a "flash in the pan".
2. Absence of pettiness: The greatest drain of energy in an organization is pettiness. Eliminating it results in high energy. Leaders understand the difference between interesting and important.
3. Works on things by priority: This results in stability under pressure and makes for an excellent problem solver. A leader who works by priorities prepares a daily priority list; he or she starts with #1 and doesn't deal with #2 when finished, but instead deals with the new #1, and so on.
4. Courageous: Leaders don't lead life meekly, they know there is a deep well of courage within each of us, whether or no we use it. Leaders do what they fear to keep fear from taking charge. Their credo is "It's always too soon to quit!"
5. Committed: Leaders know that they won’t die an early death by working hard in a job they love. They never hear low achievers saying to them, "Slow down! You're going to ruin your health!" Their work is a developed art form.
6. Goal oriented: Focus is the antidote for pain in the accomplishment of stellar goals. Leaders understand that a lack of goals starts the process of both physical and mental shutdown.
7. Unorthodox: These are the creators, the innovators, and the think-outside-the-box types. They learn from their successes and from their failures. They are originals, not copies.
8. Inspired enthusiasm that's contagious: Leaders grow enthusiastic as they achieve their daily goals, which are part of a larger plan, not just daily tasks. They are acutely aware that without this contagious enthusiasm whatever mood they have will also be contagious.
9. Level headed in times of crisis: These people do not come aparts or cry in their beer. They are steady and therefore grasp the needed facts quickly. They know that conflict overcome is strength gained.
10. Desire to help others grow: Leaders know there is no saturation to education and that passing along knowledge and growth experiences builds synergistic relations and camaraderie.

Here are some suggestions for taking the road to greatness:

Rate yourself for each characteristic: On a scale of 1 to 10, how great are you?

Rate yourself from the prospective of your team members: Would they agree with how you’re rated yourself? If not, why not?

Focus on three points for improvement: Pick out three characteristics to improve in yourself and map out a plan for that improvement.

"An organization quits improving right after the manger quits improving."

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