As I pondered what to write for my second blog, I wanted to write something that could kick off a series of blog entries that could provide thoughts and discussions on various tools for a leader’s toolbox. It finally hit me yesterday – why not the alphabet? There’s an opportunity for 26 themed blog posts right there tying each letter of the alphabet to some aspect of leadership. I think they will be enjoyable to write, and I hope you find them meaningful and thought provoking to read. Without further ado, as they would say on Sesame Street, “today’s blog is sponsored by the letter A!”
There are a large number of attributes that help develop leaders in any organization from good leaders into great ones. It would be impossible to list all of those attributes, and certainly people will have their own list of what attributes help make an outstanding leader. However, three such attributes that I think everyone could agree upon as leadership amazing attributes are as follows: Appreciative, Approachable, and Action-oriented.
Appreciative leaders express their gratitude to their employees in multiple ways. They push top performers for bonuses, promotions, or special quarterly and annual recognition awards. The appreciative leader acknowledges and recognizes the key individual contributions of each team member – regardless of position on the team or rank or job title – with a clear understanding of how those individual contributions are combined to make a synergistic, effective team. Often, it is simply the role of the leader to say, “thanks for your great work today” after working on a project or even just completing routine daily activities, because it is that appreciation from the leader on the small tasks that will encourage the organization’s members to work even harder on the large, difficult tasks when they come their way.
In addition to leaders appreciating what the members of their organization or team contribute, amazing leaders are also Approachable. Approachable leaders are genuine and sincere when they invite subordinates to come to them with problems or concerns, both work-related and personal. Approachable leaders encourage subordinates to come to them with fresh ideas about how to do things better, smarter, and faster. They are not close-minded to think they have all the answers on how to achieve organizational goals. Approachable leaders not only encourage followers to present new ideas to them, but also welcome constructive criticism and feedback if followers think the leader is moving in the wrong direction. Followers want a leader that they can approach with concerns about a particular decision or direction the organization is headed, without fearing that the leader will bite off their heads, ignore them, or punish them in some manner for questioning the leader’s direction. The questioning or criticism must be professional, of course, but the Approachable leader is Appreciative of the feedback to at least assess if the current vector is not quite right, and provide a course correction or be able to explain the current direction more clearly as required.
Finally, for any leader to truly be amazing, he or she must be Action-oriented. At the end of Lesson 9 of my EBook, Top 10 Leadership Lessons: Commonsense Leadership Tools for the Shift Supervisor and Chief Executive Alike, I discuss the attribute of being action-oriented in the following manner: “If you want to be a great leader, you must understand that just having a job title or some authority is not enough to be a leader. Leadership requires action. It requires service. It requires focus on employees, organizational processes, and the team; it doesn’t require focus on you.”Leaders must make timely decisions. They must actively develop their people, so their people can more effectively and efficiently provide a product or service that achieves an organization’s goals and objectives. Simply put, a leader without action to provide vision for the organization and development for the people is only a person with a fancy duty title. To truly be a great leader, it requires action to lead.
Leaders must make timely decisions. They must actively develop their people, so their people can more effectively and efficiently provide a product or service that achieves an organization’s goals and objectives. Simply put, a leader without action to provide vision for the organization and development for the people is only a person with a fancy duty title. To truly be a great leader, it requires action to lead.
So what can you do today to improve as a leader? Appreciate the individual contributions of team members that make the organization better as a whole. Be Approachable for new ideas and / or different ideas from your own. Display an Action-orientation to not just show by your words, but by your deeds, that you are leading the team towards success. If you can show as a leader that you are Appreciative, Approachable, and Action-oriented, chances are your followers will also think that you are pretty AmAzing.