Leaders, how to spot em.

4 12 2006

Evening everyone.

Leaders, how do you know if someone is a leader?

Do they just emerge?

Have they got badges?

Perhaps its because they wear funny hats?

Here are my thoughts on it.

Of course, I don’t think this is a complete list, nor is it likely to be right every-time. But these are just a few things I’ve noticed about the ‘top’ people.

– Leaders in the majority of cases are simply that. They will take the step forward, they will see a path towards a goal.
– People follow leaders. Sometimes, not without question or challenge, but they trust what they say and have faith in what they do, or where they are headed.
– Leaders are not necessarily the best managers. Sometimes leaders are leaders in thought, not in practice.
– Even in social situations, Leaders get listened to. Ever been in a social situation, and all of a sudden, everyone is listening to you? Ever consider that perhaps YOU at that particular time, were demonstrating some subtle leadership behaviors?
– Leaders are not afraid to be wrong. Instead, they focus on the positive outcomes, and mitigate the risks of failure.
– Leaders get accused of thinking too broadly sometimes.
– Leaders care for the people who follow them, and seek to deliver good outcomes.
– They invest in relationships, and know how to harness them.
– They also connect people, and are looked to, for connections with others.

There’s heaps more, but I tend to think a lot about what subtle things I do and see that make me a better leader. So as that develops, I’ll post more.

My best advice here:
Think about yourself, if you would follow you, and why would that be?

Your team can make or break you. Surround yourself with excellence, and the desire for excellence.

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2 responses

4 01 2007
Tuna

This brings up the point are people born leaders, or do they become leaders after adolescent development. One view is that leadership is a fixed part of the personality trait of a person and can’t be learnt or trained. Others suggest that you can train/learn to change your personality type and move it over time slowly across the personality matrix. Hence increasing your leadership potential/skills etc. I have seen a few good leaders do this in person over the years. Going from Introvert Sensitive to Extravert Intuitive.

Then you have the observation that a leader may not be the person in hierarchical control of a group of people. There are many documented instances of leadership via proxy. Where the 2IC is the real power or the back-room techie is in fact in real control of the IT section and the Manager is just a figurehead. Then your also get leaders for different peer grouping with any organisation.

5 01 2007
benwintergiles

Thanks Tuna, very true all of it.

There is an emerging prevalence of matrix style management which i’m seeing emerge, particularly in IT, more so in Government. This is where there are more than one manager that someone would report to, depending on what the person has to report on. Context sensitive reporting if you will.

Something else I suppose to add to what has been discussed here is that leaders are not necessarily the ones who hold the power. Some managers manage by stealth, in the background. Often they may go unsung, but to them the results present themselves in other ways.

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