The Drive For 5 in Leading Elegantly

The underpinning proposition for the 5 things great leaders, Elegant Leaders with Voltage, say stem from asking great thought provoking questions – they listen intently. They’re eager to learn, they’re inquisitive, and curious. The late Stephen Covey emphasized seeking understanding in order to be understood is part of a continual learning process. Having a thirst and desire to know more about your people, your team, your department and your organization is you are never too busy to listen. Observing the non-verbal language and listening for opportunities to demonstrate Elegant Leadership is vital. Listening is a great compliment!

Great Leaders are Great Listeners:

  1. What Should We Stop and/or Start Doing? One of the best behaviors demonstrated by great leaders is to sincerely recognize and appreciate the contribution of others. Asking those employees who are closest to the issues and situations that favorably and unfavorably affect your business further reveal Elegant Leadership. 
  2. Is This Urgent and Is It Important? There are times when conflicting or multiple priorities have differing perspectives from every level of the organization. Getting a pulse on this perspective up, down and across the organization is paramount if the leader is to influence with impact in moving an organization forward. 
  3. What Would a Solution Look Like? There are more employees than there are leaders, and they know first hand the self-imposed obstacles in their path more than anyone. They bring unique skills and intangibles, which is why they were hired originally, and they bring unique insights into potential solutions and have invaluable input. Challenging the conventional wisdom at that level can be a learning experience for all involved.
  4. What is Our Best First Step? Guiding the next steps for an organization is what great leaders do – having the vision and the ability to communicate that vision succinctly illustrates Elegant Leadership. 
  5. What’s Missing? When we get stuck as executives and business professionals, we look for openings to solve problems, we look for goals and plans, and we look for costs and consequences. On occasion, we must step back, take a fresh view on the current state to inquire as to what could possibly be missing in the scenario or situation. Elegant Leaders fluidly look for openings from others around them to stretch the capacity of their decision making and of those around them. 

Great Leaders are Comfortable in Their Own Skin

Every leader’s story is unique and every one brings a specific personality and an identity to every organization they lead or lead within. Whether they are a fixer, who turns around or fine tunes an organization, a forward-looking leader, who clearly articulates why a particular direction is required and the innumerable intricate steps and alternatives on what and how to get there to the charismatic fan, the Chief Cheerleader who inspires people to inspire their people to inspire an organization centered around a common purpose, they all have one common characteristic among them. They are comfortable in their own skin.

The are not the center of attention in many cases and are quick to edify those they work with in order to build them up. Many tend to be authentic in their style and transparent in their lead.  Transparency is more than the deportment of your personal and professional life. It’s a greater sense of purpose that what they do has a significant impact on the lives of their employees, their community, their business landscape and in their corner of the world. Without a comfort in one’s own skin, the fractures of duplicity and flawed characters will surface. It’s never a question of if, it’s a matter of when.

Great Leaders’ Strengths Are Intertwined With Their Weaknesses

For some leaders, it’s about embracing one’s quirkiness. For other’s it’s learning to laugh and love yourself. Socrates said, scio te ipsum – know thyself. An Elegant Leader figures out what type of leader they are quickly and then adjusts their strengths and weaknesses to help employees fulfill their potential.

People don’t quit jobs, they quit their managers. When you’re the leader, your role directly impacts employee retention. While some people are naturally good at leading others, we all have strengths and weaknesses that can affect our relationships with our employees. “When you’re in charge, your opinion takes up more space than others’, whether you intend it or not as what you say and do carries more weight.” according to author Jonathan Raymond.

Keep in mind as your strengths grow and develop, too much driving of a strength may become a blind-spot, a weakness. Here are 4 blind-spots to be aware of for us all. Arrogance comes from over confidence through over promising and under delivering. Keeping your hands “off-the-wheel” is easily done, early on in the role. Maintaining that strength to allow room for errors, miss steps and mistakes is admirable. Becoming overly critical, demanding, directive and autocratic is a result from struggling with “letting go.” The charismatic overly communicative leader can fall into the trap of leading through incongruity or hypocrisy eroding all possibility of integrity and credibility.

Great Leaders Demonstrate Competence Through Their Contributable Results

At the end of every day great leaders, the Elegant Leaders with Voltage, are judged on results. The single greatest difference between a good leader and a great leader is the great leader ensures everyone is prepared to execute at their very best. When you prepare better than anyone else, the outcome is far more certain than not. Great leaders know where to look for opportunities to grow and to influence people. They keep an eye and an ear out for quiet performers. They realize contributors are the ones who deliver the expected outcomes from the vision. It’s the execution from the employees who understand and have the capability to perform, because they train, practice and are prepared for the eventual outcome. Elegant Leaders deliver Voltage by leading competently through their people who deliver contributable results.

Great Leaders Give Away Credit

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasow

There’s plenty of credit to go around. Great leaders are thrilled to give away the credit. Getting the assignment of credit right is important to everyone in the organization. It is a driver of high performance! It’s the serendipity that high potential employees yearn for.  It is a critical factor in making employees feel fulfilled and motivated. The very best leaders and organizations get this point and spare no effort to get it right.

BONUS #1 – Elegant Leader with Voltage Attributes:

  • Voltage comes from being self-reliant.
  • Voltage comes from leading with pace and velocity.
  • Voltage comes from attaining improbable results with audacious talent
  • Voltage comes from leading with confidence, resilience and tolerance.
  • Voltage is leading simply, powerfully and gracefully; it’s Elegant.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – C.S. Lewis

BONUS #2 – 4 Things Stupid Leaders Say:

  1. Don’t’ take this personally, but… You’re kidding right? Unfortunately, no. There are many executives and business professionals who believe their opinion is the only opinion and due to their stature, position or authority feel it necessary to cut you off at the knees. 
  2. We need to discuss this sometime. Immediately, you get that endorphin rush of excitement you’re going to be heard or you’re going to be able to offer your insight. When in reality and in some respects, it’s pure lip service or Management Weaselspeak to blow you off. What? We can’t take 5 minutes to talk through it now? 
  3. Don’t bring me a problem without a solution. Well, if I had the damn solution, what the hell would I need you for? 
  4. I’ll get back to you on that. Why not just say what you mean – you’re not important enough to me to make time for you. 

Communication is incredibly important and as C.S. Lewis coined, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” In order for leaders to become Elegant and to have Voltage, they have to develop the proper behaviors to move away from general and superficial communication and dig deep into the deeper feelings and needs of the employee population. There’s always twice as many eyes on you as you have on them. To dig deeper into real, authentic communications, click here on how to communicate, simply, powerfully and elegantly.

If you want to grow and develop your Elegant Leadership, give me a call directly 205-482-2177 or schedule a call here. Limited spots are available for the next 13 week program.

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