6 Keys to Leadership

Keys To LedershipDevelop the Leader in You: Many leaders like to identify the organizations they lead as learning organizations, but they don't always model learning behavior. Effective leaders never stop growing and viewing all experiences as learning opportunities.

Share the Vision: Employees are inspired and influenced by the leader who is not afraid to let them see her passionate commitment to the vision or how they contribute to achieving that vision.

Encourage Communication: You're always communicating, whether or not you're actually talking to your employees. Eye contact, a smile or animated expression lets your employees know all is right with their (work) world. Conversely, a furrowed brow, a worried expression, an exasperated sigh may have your employees ringing the alarm. Therefore, the appropriate style of communication is to defuse the unproductive behaviors (worrying, gossiping, etc.) and, good or bad, openly share honest information with the employees.

Be the "Decider": Decision making is fairly simple-identify the problem, decide on a solution, and then "just do it". Leaders get stuck when they try to seek enough information to be 100 percent sure about a decision. At that point, according to former Secretary of State Gen Colin Powell, it's almost always too late.

Focus on People: The old military adage, "take care of the people and the people will take care of the mission," also applies to the business world. Compensation is one way to take care of employees, but important to most employees is having the essential resources (training, materials, equipment, support, etc.) to be successful in their jobs.

Bring the Energy: I learned very early in my leadership career how my energy impacted the energy of the people I aspired to lead. Often I didn't have to say anything--my employees were so attuned to me that they felt the heat of my energy the minute I entered the workspace. Your energetic commitment to your organization can make all the difference in the behavior of your employees. Unfortunately, according to Bruce Schneider, founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), nearly 85 percent of "leaders" unconsciously destroy the energy and momentum of their employees and their company because of their negative energy. Leaders must drive emotions in a positive direction.

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