Ian Pratt asked:
Is there a magic ingredient or proven recipe for leadership success? Or; is there one answer to the question â€œwhat makes a good leader?â€ There is an abundance of leadership books available at the local bookshop, each book selling the authors own, unique, recipe for leadership success.
If a single, proven recipe for making a good leader existed, then all people would look to the same role model; however, some people look to Richard Branson while others aspire to emulate the style of Jack Welch or even Mother Theresa.
Most aspiring leaders will identify a role model, a successful leader who they aspire to be like, someone whose books they read and whose stories they tell.
With an increasing diversity of books and reference material on leadership becoming available, the challenge becomes selecting the type of leader we aspire to learn from, someone whom we should to strive to model our beliefs and behaviours on.
How can do we choose the right role model?
Choosing the right can be difficult especially when our research quickly identifies good leaders with such diverse attributes as Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mother Theresa.
When I ask people to identify a good leader, they always surprise me with who they choose, and their reasons for doing so. My advice is to select a few leaders to be your role models. As a minimum, choose one who appeals to you and one who was successful in your filed.
Note: Good Leaders Achieve Results
However, instead of looking at the person or personality, the path to success becomes more apparent when we focus on what a good leader achieves. A good leader achieves results, Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mother Theresa all delivered results in their field and they did so because of the attributes that they do have in common.
All good leaders all have the attributes of passion, persistence and resilience in common.
Good leaders are passionate about what they are doing; they not only seek to be good leaders but also to continually learn more about their field.
If the good leader is in a sales environment, they will seek to maintain their knowledge of sales and customer service, keeping abreast of contemporary research, the latest thinking and trends within their industry or in other industries. This knowledge is detailed process knowledge, which will enable the good leader to discuss sales with their employees.
If you discover that you could improve the sales experience if your employees gently touch the customerâ€™s hand as they return the customerâ€™s credit card or change, then you will never stop talking about it.
You will be persistent about the things that are important for your business.
If the leader is in a manufacturing environment, they will be passionate about the products manufactured by the business and/or the final product that uses your components.
A manufacturing leader will also be passionate about the moment of truth; that point in time where the customer receives the benefit from using your product.
(Sales folk should also be passionate about their business and the products they sell)
How to be passionate:
To be passionate you need to prioritise and allocate time to
1. discussing your business, its processes and products with your employees
2. seeking customer feedback directly, donâ€™t rely on reports and survey results3. investigating best practices within and outside your industry
The passion cycle
The passion cycle builds: as you acquire more knowledge from your customers and your best practice research you will use this knowledge when talking to your employees, they will feed on your passion and inturn their passion will build
.As your employeeâ€™s passion builds, they will start to source relevant product or process information and will begin sharing the information with you.
Together you will build a passionate organisation.
Why persistence?, because you will hit roadblocks, people will put obstacles up in front of you and even when you are hitting home runs it may take some time for the results to show.
When you first start talking to your employees, (Management by Walking Around) about your processes or your research they will not respond to you. Some of your employees will be cold others will preach failure, however you will need to be persistent.
It may take 6 weeks for the early adopters, (First employees to respond positively) to respond to your passion and even longer for the rest of your employees.
Resilience is a personal quality that comes with confidence, experience and achievements.
1. Knowing that you will be successful, no matter what happens, what challenges you face or if you have an occasional failure, you pick yourself up and try again.
2. Holding steady â€“ once you have your plan people will start to tell you why it will not work, once you start a change initiative people will tell you that it is not working.
3. Holding your nerve, keeping your faith and continue selling the vision.
4. Never loosing your passion
5. Never loosing you persistence
You can now see that it does not matter which leader you select as your role model. Passion, persistence and resilience are the mandatory required traits of a good leader where a good leader is someone who delivers results.