There are lots of leadership competency models around. Most have a reasonable correlation with each other, depending on the level of leadership being contemplated. For example, it’s clear that a leader of a large business enterprise needs competencies that a leader of a small team does not.
Nonetheless if you’re to truly succeed in a leadership role there are two leadership behaviours that you simply cannot do without, regardless of the level at which you’re operating.
In my travels around different industries, cultures and organisations, I notice that these two behaviours are always, yes always, present in exemplary leaders. One behaviour is about “what” the exemplary leader does, and the second is about “how” they do it…
1. Demonstrating Visionary And Strategic Thinking
A client recently referred to this behaviour as “being on the bridge—rather than in the engine room.” It’s a very descriptive analogy, isn’t it? (I can especially relate to it having spent time on the bridge-viewing platform of the Queen Mary 2. They do some extremely useful strategic work up there, planning and setting the direction of that big boat!)
Regardless of whether your job requires that you lead a small team of two or three people or you lead multi-level teams of leaders, those two or three people and those multi-levels teams of leaders are going to be much, much more effective if they’re really clear about their big picture.
Outstanding leaders ensure their team members have a strong link between their team’s vision and strategies and the bits that they’re responsible for executing.
If they are going to be high performing individuals who form a high performing team, your team members need to have answers to these following sorts of questions:
- What is our team’s ideal outcome/dream/vision?
- What is the plan I’m responsible for implementing?
- Based on what targeted outcome do I need to develop and execute my tactics?
If you’ve habituated visionary and strategic thinking, your team members will most certainly have the answers to these questions.
2. Ensuring Your Team Members Feel Highly Valued And Respected
I know, I know, I speak about this quite a bit. And that’s because I keep noticing that truly great leaders do it so well—and those who are not so great don’t do it well at all!
Let’s turn this around for a bit: In your interactions and relationships with others, what needs to happen so that you feel highly valued and respected?
Straight off the top of my head, personally I need to feel heard, I need to feel appreciated, I need to feel significant in the eyes of the other. There, that’ll do for now. Now back to you…
I’m going to assume that your answers were similar to mine—so now we need to know what-needs-to-happen-for-those–things-to happen?
Quite frankly, by you simply behaving as a highly polished and generous human being, I think you’ll be ensuring your team members feel highly valued and respected…
For example, as a highly polished and generous leader, the way you’d interact with your team members would include the big and the little things, like:
- Authentically thanking them when they’d done a good job.
- Authentically thanking them for their efforts—even when they didn’t produce such a good result.
- Acknowledging/honouring their contributions as their contributions. (Oh gosh, so many team members very enthusiastically complain when their boss talks as if their idea was his/hers.)
- Going out of your way to check in with them every so often.
- Keeping your feedback frequent and candid—both about what you like/appreciate/value about their work, their practices and their behaviours, as well as what you don’t like/appreciate/value as much.
- Frequently asking them what they think about something, and how they feel about something—and sincerely caring about their response.
- And even this…Smiling warmly when you pass in the corridor.
There are more, and these are the biggies based on the comments I’ve heard from hundreds of team members about their leaders over the last ten years or so.
Your Leadership Call to Action
How important is it to you that you’re an outstanding leader?
I’ll assume your answer is “yes, it’s up there”, and therefore you’ll benefit from:
- Checking in with your team members and confirming that they have 100% clarity and agreement on my three suggested vision and strategy questions…
What is our team’s ideal outcome/ dream/vision?
What is the plan I’m responsible for implementing?
Based on what targeted outcome do I need to develop and execute my tactics?
And if they don’t have 100% clarity and agreement, quickly take remedial action to ensure they do.
- Monitoring your thanking/acknowledging contributions/checking in/feedback/caring about their thoughts and feelings/smiling warmly behaviours.
And if your behaviours are less than ideal, slowly but surely adjusting them so that they are ideal.
As always, give me a yell if you’d like to talk about any of this, or if you’d like support with implementing or habituating these crucial leadership behaviours.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.