How do you know if you are an effective leader?
There are two quick steps to determine if you truly are a leader;
1. Check to see if you have willing followers
2. Take a look at the shadow you cast
The first one is pretty easy, and often very obvious if you take the time to look. Do you have people willingly following you? I say “willingly “because I am not referring to employees who do what they are asked to do, but team members who choose to follow you and believe in your vision. Guess what, if you do not have any followers…you’re not a leader and you can quit reading now.
So you have people following you, but are you effective as a leader? The second question may take a bit longer reflection time. I was taught early in my career that leaders must be intentional about the shadow they cast. Your shadow will speak volumes over what you say to your team. As a leader you must be intentional about the shadow you cast…after all EVERYONE is watching! Ineffective leaders do not walk the talk and are not aware and or do not care about the shadow they cast.
If we are to be intentional about the shadow we cast, what are some common characteristics of true leaders? Below are my top 10 favorite leadership characteristics;
1. They gain power through lifting others up, not by pushing them down
2. They focus on problems ( road blocks), not people
3. They delegate authority to team members closest to the problem
4. They ask what is best for the overall organization, not the CEO, owners or employees
5. They personally take ownership of risky strategies
6. They describe a clear destination and share the flight plan to get there with mile markers along the way
7. They do not delegate the “hard stuff”
8. They are accountable , they own their decisions and do not look for fall guys if things go wrong
9. They are humble
10. They focus on what’s working, verse what’s broken
How about you, what are some of the characteristics you look for in a leader?
What are some characteristics you see that you cannot work for?
Do you report to someone, what does their shadow look like relative to the above 10 characteristics?