Leadership for Life – The Great and Not-So-Great

By on August 16, 2012
The Great and Not-So-Great

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Everybody wants to know how to be a great leader. Most of us have had experience with all kinds of leaders – the great, the good, the so-so, and the just plain awful. What makes them different? Great leaders use a set of beliefs, skills and tools consistently. Not-so-great leaders apply these with less skill or haphazardly, generally yielding inconsistent results. For some additional background, see my previous post (What Great Leaders Believe).

So how do you get to be a great leader? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing some of the core characteristics of great leaders. Today we’ll begin with what a great leader believes.

There are several core beliefs of great leaders, but in the interest of brevity I want to concentrate on three of the most important.

First, great leaders believe that people want, need, and deserve respect. In that sense, all business is personal. The leader who consistently demonstrates this belief will be followed to the ends of the earth.

Second, great leaders believe that there is value in differences. This leader will surround himself or herself with people of different backgrounds, ages, experience, and cultures – just to name a few obvious kinds of diversity. What this does is ensure that the leader gets input from a variety of sources that don’t necessarily support his own biases and assumptions. Not only does this result in higher self-esteem on the part of the staff, but also avoids the risks of groupthink, which could lead to disaster.

The third belief of great leaders is when you want to improve something in the organization, ask the people who are doing the job. They know the job best, and generally have their fingers on what needs improvement and why. When front-line employees know that their opinions and experience are respected and valued, they get more engaged in their efforts to make the organization work better.

Any questions? Call me at 314-539-5329 or send email to bschapiro@stlcc.edu. Class dismissed.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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