When organizations hire an individual to join their management team, their intent is to bring someone on board that can improve productivity and the bottom line. There are a myriad of traits one could list that can accomplish those results but here are six I’ve come to realize make a real difference in creating the right organizational culture of success.
Truthfulness: Leadership cannot survive on falsehoods. Eventually such leaders will be exposed. Thus growing employee performance means not skirting around reality. Employees deserve a candid and truthful assessment of their work. Anything less hinders development. Leaders need a strong grasp of reality with their day-to-day observations. That approach means not waiting until the dreaded annual review to unload on an employee. Growth demands a daily dose of reality, coupled with guidance to make things better. One last benefit of being truthful—If you’re always truthful, you don’t have to remember what you said. That’s very good news for those with a poor memory!
Sincerity: A close second to truthfulness is sincerity. And with sincerity comes a caring attitude. Now don’t confuse caring with being “soft” on employee performance. It’s perfectly fine to raise the performance bar, to set specific expectations and to hold people accountable for achieving them. The only caveat is that the proper resources are provided to make improvements occur.
British Particular Baptist Preacher, Charles Spurgeon said, “Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.” Failing here diminishes the quality of your character. Failing here diminishes the quality of employee performance. Failing here diminishes the quality of your life.
Challenge: High producers expect to be challenged and thrive on it. Just ask Peyton Manning! Work with employees to help them understand their capabilities and do it in a way that influences the heart with some powerful self-motivation. Think deeply, challenge deeply! Don’t settle for the easiest route to achieve an end. In these cases, achievement does not match potential and we get “less then.”` Challenges are part of the organizational atmosphere and running away or placing our heads in the sand is a losing strategy.
Motivational speaker Les Brown says this about challenge: “We were all born with a certain degree of power. The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way.” What is your innate power and how are you using it to overcome the daily challenges of life?
Optimism: We are generally attracted to a person who never complains and is always cheerful and positive with both words and deeds. Leaders need optimism to achieve lofty goals, to stretch themselves and others to greater achievements. This is not to say such leaders never experience a down moment or a bit of negativity. Great leaders build an awareness of when such moments occur and learn to quickly rebound to a higher plane of optimism. Maintaining a positive posture generates hope, courage and the tenacity to win the attitude war.
Former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, known for his quick wit and wisdom, had this to say about optimism: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” What vision do you have?
Integrity: Leaders who display integrity with their actions and decisions will grow employee performance while also growing their own abilities. Integrity is most cited as the number one behavior displayed by outstanding leaders. This behavior brings predictability and consistency employees appreciate. No matter the situation yesterday, the same predictable and consistent response will be made with similar circumstances tomorrow. Such leaders always behave in a moral and ethical manner. They stay truthful to themselves and to others.
Former President Harry Truman once said, "A person who is fundamentally honest doesn't need a code of ethics. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are all the ethical code anybody needs." It’s hard to top that thought!
Service Focus: How many of you would enjoy working for a leader that treats employees poorly? I’m certain no one would enjoy that situation. It’s the leaders who have a strong focus on serving that garner respect, display confidence, and are attentive to the needs of others. Don’t confuse serving others with being a weak leader. Contrary to that thought, a leader can be service minded but tough at the same time.
The service focus is the core of a Servant Leader. What do these individuals bring to the workplace? Here are the more important characteristics to consider: (1) Cultivates a culture of trust (2) Thinks you, not me (3) Develops other leaders (4) Perpetually encourages others (5) Remains humble; never arrogant.
In a true service organization, the mindset extends to employees serving each other and to everyone serving customers. How can I help should be the most frequent question heard throughout the organization. Respectability is synonymous with great leadership. And great leadership skill is synonymous with a service attitude.
Mahatma Gandhi summarized this point well when he said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Outstanding leaders never stop looking for ways to develop their employees. If you are serious about being such a leader, never give up the search. Your employees will appreciate your tenacity.
Originally published on February 19, 2016 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau