What’s In a Strong Leader? | BridgeBetween

What’s In a Strong Leader?

There are many ways that a strong leader distinguishes themselves from a weak one, or worse, a truly negative one. Often, when you look at leaders around you, their flaws seem obvious but their positive traits are harder to discern. All you really know when you see a leader who is truly strong is that you are willing to hear them and follow them.

There are a couple of ways that a strong leader differentiates themselves from weak ones that are easily identifiable however; it’s these traits that are in stark contrast when compared to a leader who does not have them.

Strong leaders don’t need to weaken others

A little gossip around the water cooler can be a very bad thing for leaders. A frank and honest discussion about issues and how to move forward is a good thing for leaders. Do these two types of chatter seem like one and the same? They’re not.

A good leader won’t disparage others publicly or otherwise, whether peers or those who work for them. A weak leader lacks confidence and thinks they are gaining some by denigrating those around them or ignoring bad behavior rather than dealing with it.

A strong leader would not only not belittle others but would not stand for others being belittled. They would have the confidence to deal with a conflict situation directly, calling out any elephants in the room. It’s not always a comfortable position but it’s vital to their leadership status.

 

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton (Source)

 

Strong leaders trust

A good leader will always deal with their team from a position of trust. A weak leader will come from a place of fear, which often results in bullying. You’ve all heard of leaders who yell and scream, all in the name of intimidation, to get what they want done but in the end, they aren’t effective, the team has no morale and it’s easy to see why they don’t last for the long term.

Along with that trust comes teamwork. A strong leader will influence others to act appropriately, support one another, and work together, to find the common path. A weak one will create division and competition within the team, believing that this is the best way of maintaining their own power.

Strong leaders live their power

Power doesn’t come from dividing people and it certainly doesn’t come from a title. Anyone can call themselves the CEO of XYZ or have that title given to them, but if they don’t truly and totally embody the role, it will only ever be a title.

A leader that inspires is one that believes in him or herself and, by extension, those around them. It’s a very motivating thing to be close to power and even more so when it is wielded by someone who knows how.

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell (Source)

Can an Introvert Be a Great Leader? | BridgeBetween.com

Can an Introvert Be a Great Leader?

Absolutely!

Connecting introversion and leadership isn’t obvious. A lot of people assume that an introvert cannot be good at communicating, influencing, managing and inspiring. A lot of people might be wrong.

An introvert, by definition, is someone who is reserved or shy, someone “whose attention and interests are directed toward one’s own thoughts and feelings.” (Source) So by the very definition, it’s not outlandish that people might think that introversion is an unlikely character trait for a successful leader.

Here are a few reasons, however, which show that being an introvert does not necessarily make leadership impossible:

Introverts are more careful

Whereas an extrovert might run headlong into a new project or a new idea, an introvert is more likely to give it careful consideration first. While an extrovert might spit out a comment without thinking of the consequences, an introvert will always consider their words more carefully. This gives the impression of not being enthusiastic or overly passionate when in fact, this kind of thoughtful deliberation is precisely what you want to see in a leader.

Speed in action, thought and word is often seen as competent and strong. There is value in taking time to make sure that the decisions being made are the right ones. The credibility that a good decision will build is worth a lot more to a leader than being ‘first’, in the long run.

Introverts have incredible listening skills

Whereas many, though not by all means all, extroverts are partial to the sound of their own voice, introverts are less likely to speak. Idle small talk is not their forte, so an introvert will spend more time listening to those around them, absorbing what is being said. Active listening skills are essential for an effective leader, and while someone who is not a good listener will likely spend their non-speaking time formulating their next statement, an introvert will actually be hearing the words being said to them.

Letting others do the talking can lead to a lot of insight, not just into issues and problems, but in the social dynamics of team members and the effectiveness of groups. A team that is led by someone who is always talking, who is always providing the ‘solutions’, will never think for themselves.

Introverts have no issue being the cheese that stands alone

Leaders are very often on their own since the proverbial buck stops with them. They are responsible, ultimately, for their team and the consequences of any actions taken by their team. But working and standing alone aren’t new concepts to any introvert, and in fact, many relish the solitude. They work best on their own, and while they are often fully capable of working on a team, their most creative and effective work is done alone.

The downtime an introvert requires in between bouts of managing issues and people is what provides them with the ability to be more reflective rather than reactive. It’s more of a slow-moving process of action, but this leads to less quick, knee-jerk decisions, which can sometimes have unintended but nonetheless trying consequences.

Introverts can be calm versus crazed

An introvert is far more likely to seem calm, even during a crisis. And that can be a good thing. Someone who is always in panic mode, seemingly crazed and ready to pounce, is not projecting stability and control, two things that people will look for in a leader. That control builds trust and trusting in a leader allows both team members and external partners to feel confident in the decisions being made and actions being taken.

Collaboration and depth are key for introverts

Whereas an extrovert is more likely to see their judgment and decisions as obvious and clear, not requiring the participation of others, an introvert will look to a more collaborative approach. While they are quite happy standing alone, as I said above, they would prefer people on their team be part of the decision, not just the receivers.

And while an extrovert might be keen to cover all the bases/goals/deliverables that they can, covering things on a more superficial level, an introvert will be more interested in delving in depth into issues. Depending on what it is that they are dealing with, each approach can have positive outcomes.

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?

6 Reasons Leaders Must Develop Patience by Shannon Cassidy

6 Reasons Leaders Must Develop Patience

“I wanted it yesterday.”

This is a fair statement if the deadline has actually passed. But demanding constant speed when there is no real urgency can wear down an employee. Great leaders know that having excellent skills in patience will create the best kind of team.

Why?

Patience Shows Respect

Focused listening to an employee communicates respect and therefore encourages productivity. Impatience while listening communicates that you don’t value your team members’ opinions.

Patience Increases Productivity

If you are constantly telling your team members to hurry up, it will foster either frustration or fear and you want neither on your team. To get the best results, use patience and deliberate instructions. Productivity will be twice what it was compared to when you are rushing.

Patience Allows Freedom

When you are presenting the idea of change, employees will process that at different paces. If you are impatient with their progression, you will be subtly communicating to them that they are “less than.” That is simply not true and will possibly drive your team members to quit. If they know they have freedom to accept the change at their own speeds, they will be better workers.

Patience Inspires Positivity

Patience inspires your team to have a positive attitude during difficult times. Your leadership when displaying patience will be noticed by your employees and will infect them with positivity. “If the boss seems calm and patient, I can be, too.”

Patience Exercises Good Timing

Timing is everything. If you are a leader of a team that must act on the stock market or forge ahead when the timing is right, patience is an extreme virtue. CNN’s news and the alerts that come up on our cell phones encourage us to go, go, go. But wisdom says to use patience. Slow down. Wait. And it is a thrill when the waiting pays off, especially in areas like real estate and Wall Street stocks.

Patience Grows Companies

Building a company takes time. Wise leaders know this and use patience appropriately. Some don’t and their attempts fail. In an article about patience in leadership on Inc.com Eric Holtzclawe wrote, “But as you move through your entrepreneurial journey, pay close attention to the pressure you are applying. Is it consistent, purposeful pressure like that needed to create a diamond? Or are you using the brute force of a sledgehammer?”

 

Gandhi used incredible patience in leading India to its independence.

Look at the Red Sox – from 1918 to 2004 they waited patiently through the “curse of the Bambino” and then took the World Series at last.

The Cubs fans are still using their patience!

If you want to be the best leader you can be, begin fostering the characteristic of patience. Slow down and be deliberate. Most leaders, ironically, are not patient people. The tendency is get it done and get it done now. But great leaders are patient and it reflects in their team members and productivity.

 

Sources:

http://artpetty.com/2012/12/27/leadership-caffeine-6-reasons-why-patience-is-a-leaders-best-friend/

http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/blog/importance-patience-leadership

http://www.inc.com/eric-v-holtzclaw/leadership-power-of-patience.html

 

 

Highly Effective Leaders Practice these 7 Habits

leader-influence-ripple-impact

Are great leaders born or made? It’s an age-old question, and evidence exists to support both sides.

Many leaders have qualities that seem innate, as Forbes notes. Confidence, a positive attitude, intelligence, exceptional communication skills, a sense of humor — these are typically characteristics inherent to an individual’s personality.

Sure, some leaders are simply smarter or luckier than other people. But it seems that in most cases, leaders have to work at setting an example that others want to follow. They do so by engaging in a number of positive behaviors.

They’re persistent

Leaders don’t quit the first time something doesn’t go their way. They keep at it, and most enjoy the journey almost as much as the destination. They know there’s a lot of valuable information to be gleaned and skills to be mastered along the way.

Not everyone is born with an assertive personality. But leaders learn to keep going despite having doors slammed in their faces — sometimes literally. They overcome passivity and keep pushing until they achieve their goals.

They work hard and invest in themselves

The image of the CEO who spends her days out on the golf course is a myth. Most leaders — and most successful people in general — work extremely hard, putting in many more hours than average people.

Time off? You won’t find leaders slumped on the couch catching the latest reality show. More than likely, they’ll be bettering themselves or helping others, whether it’s reading books related to their fields, keeping their bodies healthy or volunteering in the community.

Individuals in leadership roles never feel that they’re done with their own educations. They always want to grow and improve, and they invest significant time in learning new things, refining their skills or finding new ways in which to stretch their abilities. They consider themselves a project that’s never finished.

They learn from mistakes

When average people make mistakes, they get down on themselves. Often, the negative voices in their heads prevail, and they stop trying altogether. For leaders, mistakes aren’t the end of the world. In fact, they’re opportunities to learn and improve.

Without people willing to keep trying despite making mistakes, there would be no progress in the world. And without mistakes, there is no learning. Leaders know there’s significant truth in the old adage: Practice makes perfect.

They set goals

Leaders don’t fly blind. They create plans and set goals.

Goals create a framework for tangible action to meet larger objectives. Whether it’s increasing a company’s sales or rolling out a new product, goals serve as a road map toward success. The simple practice of creating goals gets team members on the same page and provides benchmarks for measuring performance. Goal-setting also fuels motivation as everyone moves in the same direction.

They don’t give in to failure

Did you know that before he became one of the best-known scientists in history, Albert Einstein was somewhat of a failure? In college, a professor derided him as lazy, and he was forced to take an entry-level job in government after graduation. Fortunately, young Albert didn’t let his early fits and starts deter him, and he went on to great things.

Great leaders don’t give up, and they don’t listen when people call them failures. They get right back up and keep going.

They build support systems

No one can do everything on their own. Even the best and brightest need help sometimes. Great leaders know this, and they surround themselves with friends and colleagues who can help them improve and continue achieving their goals. They stay away from toxic, negative people, instead spending their time with smart, positive people who are determined to be successful.

They have a spirit of service

Leaders help other develop their talents and skills. They’re generous with their time and often can be found mentoring young people. They act as role models, and they’re conscious of the ways in which they can serve others.

What makes a highly effective leader?

Viewed from afar, leaders can seem almost superhuman. Brilliant ideas seem to flow effortlessly, and everything they touch seems to turn to gold. The truth is that for most, learned and practiced habits make the difference between mediocrity and greatness. Persistence, setting goals, rebounding from failure and serving others build the character that makes a true leader.

Source

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247518?ctp=BizDev&src=Syndication&msc=Feedly, http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/7-ways-that-great-leader-thinks-differently.html, http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/, http://www.forbes.com/sites/zalmiduchman/2015/04/24/how-i-discovered-the-importance-of-persistence-and-learned-to-annoy-the-heck-out-of-everyone/, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-motivation-goal-setting-businesses-2506.html, http://www.creativitypost.com/psychology/famous_failures