Leadership, in its simplest form, means the act of getting individuals aligned and moving in the same direction toward a desired outcome.

Gallup/Clifton Strengths

Leadership has many definitions and we’ve shared them over the years. One of our more basic definitions is Taking others where they’ve never gone before and wouldn’t go by themselves. This covers a lot of territory.  Examples include goal attainment, career development, self-awareness, coaching, team synergy, and the list goes on and on.

Gallup, famous for their polling, completed one of their largest studies where over 14,000,000 employees, 2,000 organizations, and 559 job studies provided input for identifying what they viewed as the most essential competencies required for successful leaders. The results:

  • Build relationships
  • Develop people
  • Lead change
  • Inspire others
  • Think critically
  • Communicate clearly
  • Create accountability

We feel we can’t omit TRUST as an essential competency for leaders. Leaders that are trusted, are viewed as having high levels of integrity, and are considered authentic, make teams thrive and more readily achieve desired goals.

Lines of communication are open, individual and team confidence grows, and there’s a willingness for innovative thinking and taking risks without the fear of repercussions.

Effective leaders build a culture where accountability and responsibility are the “norm”. There’s no fear of bad reviews, demotions, or embarrassment, and feedback sessions are actually looked forward to!  They know that their leader will be respectful and honoring while delivering feedback, that the leader truly wants team members and the team to grow and succeed, and that they want to help each individual establish a career path and create and track their progress.

Claremont Graduate University Professor Paul Zak wrote that people in high trust workplaces compared to low-trust workplaces experienced the following:

74% less stress

106% more energy at work

50% higher productivity

13% fewer sick days

76% more engagement

29% more satisfaction with their lives

40% less burnout

This is definitely aligned with Patrick Lencioni’s Five Behaviors Of A Cohesive Team model where trust is the foundation for success. Regardless of how many leadership competencies one possesses, without trust a leader’s skills and abilities will always be limited.  Any disagreement?    

Guiding Principles

Does your place of work operate within a set of principles that clearly guide team members? Do they define how employees are to be treated, how employees will optimally interact with one another, and how the needs of clients, internal/external customers, and shareholders are best serviced?

Remember, it all starts with the employees. This includes satisfaction levels, attrition, general work engagement, and that employees leave “their boss, not their job”. The quality of leadership makes individuals and companies thrive while reducing turnover.

In Success Magazine, May/June 2022, Editor Tristan Ahumada shares 6 Leadership Principles of quality leadership he feels are necessary for leaders of all levels and they can be remembered as I SPARK. Excerpts include:

Innovation: Great leaders look for opportunities that will be impactful

Systems: Great leaders understand the need for systems and processes and their ability for reuse  

People First: People must be truly valued and treated well, in order to achieve success    

Awareness: Leaders understand the impact they have on others and the repercussions their actions and words will have

Resilience: Leaders must have grit and determination to deal with tough times and failures

Kindness: This is sometimes forgotten; great leadersare empathetic and compassionate, build relationships and unite people.

As a leader, what principles do you support and promote within your organization? Are there any that Mr. Ahumada provided that you could incorporate? Think I SPARK!

Relationships need to be built and maintained How would you evaluate the kind of relationships you have with your boss and your direct reports?  Do you find that you are most often in sync with them or that your relationship is “hit or miss”?

What’s your comfort level sharing stories about your personal life or discussing challenges you are facing at work?