From the Post, Why would anyone follow you?
We have often heard the question, “What makes a good leader great?” In workshops, we sometimes start out by asking people to list the characteristics of a good leader. We ask them to think about a teacher they admire or an outstanding boss. What we get is a plethora of descriptors like,
- Have your back
- Accept responsibility
- Clear communicator
Then I ask the group a seemingly easy question, I ask them to describe their character as a leader. I usually get stares, then I say, let me rephrase that, why would anyone follow you as a leader? What does your character say about who you are as a leader?
In your journal, make a list of the characteristics you believe make you a good leader. Then, if you are serious about this, ask your staff what they see. Do they see the same thing as you see? Do they see you differently, or differently from how you want to be seen?
If there are commonalities between what you see and what they see, they indicate that those are strong behaviors. If your staff doesn’t see how you want to be seen, then this is a place to start the personal work that will support and enhance those characteristics you want people to see in you.
If you take the time to write a leader philosophy, this should help you to see what you want to develop within yourself. When you do this, be honest with yourself. Just because it’s part of your philosophy doesn’t make it so. If there is something you want people to see in you, go after it. Do the hard work because a lot of people won’t.
In her book, Grit, Angela Ductwork talks about two behaviors that support success: perseverance and passion. I added a third and that is patience. Developing behaviors into leadership skills takes time and practice. You will fail from time to time, so pick yourself up, wipe off the dust, and keep moving forward. That determination will help you to become the leader people want to follow.