10 qualities of an exceptional leader who leads by example

In a constantly  moving economy , companies still need to  do  a lot of work  to ensure they  have the right leaders developed,  who  are able to  meet the demands of the environment and lead the company  and the team to  the next  big growth  milestones.  The paradigms of leadership  have replaced the widely  admired management theories from 20th  century.  But still, replacing something does not mean that  you  have a developed replacement.  As there where so many  theories and definitions  of management, today  you  can read about different definitions and theories for leadership.  As an essence of all  of them the role of the  excellent leader has evolved as “someone who  clearly  understands what  brings accountability,  engagement and motivation in the work  environment and leads the team or organization so , that those three elements interact with each other to  ensure future growth.” The theories from the first  20  years of 21st  century  have evolved to  help  organizations and business schools extract  the essence of what  makes a good leader having the skills to  leads by  example and ensure results and growth for organization and the people led. Here I’m offering you  the 10  qualities I believe are crucial  to  become  the exceptional leader you  want to  be and start  leading others the way  they  can see how the contribute to  future success and grow and develop  as personalities.

Behave with integrity
One of the widely  seen development areas for leaders today (68% of leaders have it according to  a Korn Ferry  research  from 2016) is integrity  and honesty. Let’s face it,  most  leaders have learned to lie others.  There may  be different reasons for that – maybe they  try  to  lower stress, or save people from a bad news that  can affect their performance and level of accountability, etc. Still,  when the followers or team members understand that  the leader behaves differently  then the values the company  has communicated and stated as ethical  behavior they  become disappointed and start  following that  behavior.  The result is that  some employees,  strongly  connected to  the company  values often quit disappointed and others,  who  see an opportunity  create a different style of culture, enabling them to  act behind the back  of their colleagues and even the leader.  So,  the first  quality  of the leading by  example leader should be to  act with  integrity – to state the values he lives,  to  encourage others to live these values too,  and show no  compromise when these values are ignored.

Trusted and trusting
Leaders biggest challenge is trust.  In a world full of fake leaders in politics,  bank institutions leaders who can brake a whole bank  system and automakers sued for manipulating data it is important for every  leader to  act with  thrust.  The leader role now is to  build trust  in his actions and decisions.  Only  the one who  is sincere can win others for the next  big  change.  On the other hand,  there is a behavior you  will need to  build being seen as trusting person.  The times of the controlling leaders are long in the past.  A leader who  is not trusting it’s team decisions and expertise can fall  from a winner to  a total  loser.  To  win a fast  changing and always demanding environment you  must  act with  trust to  all  your team members seen them as motivated, engaged and accountable experts than just  tools who  can help  you  to  finish  your job. 

Respected and respectful
Being trusted is one thing, but being respected is different.  Respect  is won through  leaders behavior and position toward others.  To  be respected you  need to act  respectful  toward others.  In short that  means to  respect  others different styles in behavior, thinking and acting and try  to  change them only  if they  affect the cultural  and values built environment.  The leader is respected if he is seen as someone who  acts as a defender of the values and does not change his/her behavior according to  the person.  Establishing and following clear rules that  ensure values driven results can empower others to  participate in your plans and positions you  as a respected leader.

Communicates quickly, widely and effectively
Have you  been in a meeting where your only  thought is where will this meeting be over and how boring and useless it is. To  be a leader means not only  to  plan your time for success, but also  respect others time invested with  you.  The best  leaders are those who  can widely  and clearly  explain an idea, giving enough  information to  others to  make the put efforts on finishing the job, but without communicating unnecessary  details that  only  lose others time.  Think  of that: Can you  say  what  you  want to  say  with  half of the words and how will that  affect  the understanding of others and

Seeks out and acts on others views
It is lonely  there were a leader stays if the ideas he/she has are only  seen as success opportunities from him/her.  A good leader involves others into  his/her vision to  success.  To become one you  will need to  learn that  other people also  have ideas and some of these ideas are even better than yours.  A good leader is not the one who  can control  others to  pursue his/her ideas,  but the one who  seeks diversity  and powers others to share views and is not afraid to  accept ideas coming from outside,  seeing the value in them.  Discussing others ideas and implementing them in the process of goal achievement is another step  that  leads to  a closer positive build of high motivation, engagement and accountability  in others toward the goals the leader has set for achievement.

Recognizes contribution of others
Years ago  I have worked for a multinational  company  where my  manager wanted to  took  all  the credits for our ideas as a team for herself.  We often heard only  her name being said from the HR Director- she was the smartest, the most creative,  goal oriented person in the room.  Then one day,  with  my  colleagues we decided to  move from active to a passive position and wait for our manager next  big miracle to  happen. In just  3 months she got 10  negative feedbacks how slow we are moving as a team and how our productivity  has collapsed.  After two  very  hard sessions with  her,  we a s a team told her directly  in the face that  we feel  somehow excluded from the success we have worked so  hard to  create. On the next department meeting she stand up  and gave a praise of every  of us in front of the whole department pointing how each  of us has contributed for our team success.  And after that  we continued with  this positive approach  and our results have grown rapidly. 

The learning here  is that  if you need engaged and accountable people,  trying their best  to  help  you  achieve your leadership  goals,  you  will need to  acknowledge their contribution.  Don’t think  how things look to  you .  Something that  may  look small and insignificant for you  may  be a turning point for others and a true motivator to  boost their energy and effort.   

Positive and enthusiastic
Have you  seen someone who  looks like a  black  cloud.  These people are often negatively  charged and cost  the team their productivity  and goals achievement.  But you need to  understand that  people in the team or organization are representation of their leadership  team.  If the leaders always look  negative and not cooperative so does the team starts to  work.  To change that  you  need to  find your positive attitude and show it to  the others.  When people see how energetic,  enthusiastic and oriented for success you  are as a leader they  are also  going to  copy  that  expression and show their positive attitude and energy, ready  to  be involved into  task  completion and goal  achievement.  Positive behavior creates positive outcomes,  and energetic approach  serves as a standard for others to  show their energy  and attachment to the global  goals achievement. Underestimating that  can cause you  a serious lack  of goals achievement.

Nurtures, support and creates accountability
You  want everyone to  succeed, because you  know that  this will also  help  you with  your goals.  Then stop  controlling and demanding input and move to  nurturing and supporting.  People always give their best ,  but when they  meet obstacles and don’t feel  supported from the leader they  start  thinking of the importance of the task.  If you  demand something,  but only  control  the process of delivery  without investing some time to  support the person when needed and explain why  is the thing you  want so  important to  be done than you will lose at the final  sprint.  Investing time to explain,  support in a process are building higher level  of accountability  in others and make them more engaged to  the final  goal.

Personally effective
I have a colleague who is inspiring at the words he uses,  but terrible at the things he does.  This person promises something just  tell  you  at the day  when you  expect the result that you need to  wait a little bit more, because he was not able to  manage the load and didn’t meet the deadline he gave you.  Maybe you  all  have a person like this one.  No  matter how smart the leader is,  or how charming looks,  the leader role is to set up  a standard for effectiveness.  And there is no  better way  to  that then to  be seen as an example.  If you need to inspire others to work  harder and deliver better results within tighter deadlines then you need to  start  from yourself.   Look at the task and deadlines you  have established and think  again if they  really  look possible.  If not,  you  need to renegotiate them.  The thing here is that  if you  renegotiate the deadline you  will need to  stick  to  this deadline and try  everything to meet it.  Another renegotiation is not an option.  People led by  example must  see a real  example of accountability  and engagement from the leader.  They  copy  hat  they  see that  is why  you  behavior toward tasks and goals is crucial  for the whole team productivity  and goal  orientation. 

Continuous learner
The times when you  have learned something and started working using one and the same skill are long gone.  The leader today  is seen as someone who  learns something new everyday  and adapts it’s behavior to the changing environment requirements. You  can learn from an online course,  a conference or community  meeting you  attend,  from your experience with  others, by  reading a book or listening to  a podcast, etc. Still what  counts more and attracts people to  you is what  you  have learned and how this learned content makes you  think and act on changing the environment to  enable others to  learn develop and grow.  

IN CONCLUSION:

Being a great leader is a dream for many  people in the world, but becoming one is combination of hard work,  persistence and a lot of energy  investment.  You  want to  be a great leader-  well,  start  with  first  knowing yourself and then realizing that  great leadership  comes when you  are ready  to accept yourself the way  you  are and be ready  to  change your personality.  Nothing else will help  you  to  go  the path  that  can make you  a great leader. 

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