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Secrets of Leadership Success

Leadership Success Series Introduced
By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com

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Team Building SenariosDownload Trainer's Notes, Games Exercises, Articles & Icebreakers!www.TrainersLibrary.com What Makes A Leader?Emotional Intelligence Appraisal predicts 60% of leader job success.www.TalentSmart.com The Top Three MistakesCompare your list with this one of the top three mistakes leaders makeChristianityToday.com/leaders HR Ads 12 Leadership Skills Theory of Leadership Leadership Test Leadership Model Leadership Mentoring Key leadership success secrets set the great leaders apart from the so-so leaders in today's organizations. Leadership style is learned from mentors, learned in seminars and exists as part of a person's innate personal leadership skill set developed over years, and existing possibly, from birth. Nature or nurture is a question often asked about leadership. I answer, "yes," because I believe the combination of natural leadership skills and nurture through leadership development defines your leadership style. Working from personal experience and research, I will define the characteristics of leadership that make great leaders. I envision a series of interlinked articles, each of which focuses on one aspect of leadership. Leadership differs from management and supervision although some people and organizations use the terms interchangeably. While the definitions of the terms differ, an individual may have the ability to provide all three.

Supervision means that an individual is charged with providing direction and oversight for other employees. The successful supervisor provides recognition, appreciation, training and feedback to reporting employees.

skills and ambition. This is the Great Events Theory.” • While a supervisor and a manager may also exhibit leadership skill or potential. One famous quote from Warren Bennis. and to handle problems. The Matrix.) . People can learn leadership skills. This is the Transformational Leadership Theory. true leaders are rare.leaders choose to lead. on his excellent leadership resource.” The first characteristic of a leader is Choice . in On Becoming a Leader distinguishes management from leadership: “Managers are people who do things right. to administer and organize work processes and systems. whether in your workplace. personality and ambition essential to leadership are difficult to develop and exhibit. (Current article . traits and actions that. o People can choose to become leaders. to have work under control and to provide direction. I believe. Leadership requires the individual to practice dominance and take charge. If you choose to become a leader. direct the course of future events and inspire others to success. leaders decide that they want to provide others with vision. community or during an emergency.D. the discussion of these characteristics will help you formulate the appropriate mix of traits. This is the Trait Theory. to guide other employees. Bernard "Bass' theory of leadership states that there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders. Big Dog's Leadership Page. The Key Leadership Trait The first.• Management means to conduct the affairs of business. you get to decide whether you are “the one. while leaders are people who do the right thing. • Choose to lead. and most important characteristic. of a leader is the decision to become a leader. A manager’s job is often described as providing everything his reporting employees need to successfully accomplish their jobs. According to Don Clark. o A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion. This is because the combination of skills. Unlike Keanu Reeves as Neo in 1999’s smash hit. These theories are: o Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style Much is written about what makes successful leaders. At some point in time. Ph.” The Transformational Leadership Theory is the one I believe is correct for most leaders today. which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. are key. The first two explain the leadership development for a small number of people. This belief forms the basis for my thinking about leadership.you are here. Managers monitor and control work while helping a group of employees more successfully conduct their work than they would have without her. I will focus on the characteristics. Successful leaders choose to lead.

So people can have confidence that their efforts won’t be punished if they take reasonable and responsible risks. Provide opportunities for people to grow. Care and act with compassion. Followership has recently been studied as a key to understanding leadership. If progress towards accomplishing the goals ceases. people must feel confidence in the direction in which the leader is headed. Suggested Reading Leadership DevelopmentManagement and Leadership TipsManagement and Leadership Books Suggested Reading Delegation as a Leadership StyleInspirational Quotes for Business and WorkExplore Your Personality and Leadership Style Lead the Team: How to be the Person Others Follow Leaders are hard to find. Further. The leader must help followers answer the question. Behave ethically. Provide vision for the future. They exhibit the other nine characteristics around which this article series was developed. They exhibit a unique blend of charisma. Followers need to believe that.• • • • • • • • • Be the person others choose to follow. . leaders people follow are accountable and trustworthy. both personally and professionally. To follow. at the end of the journey. the leader takes responsibility to analyze the problem – he doesn’t search for people to blame. Make other people feel important and appreciated. not just the overall direction. They communicate. vision and character traits that attract people to follow them. Establish an environment of continuous improvement. but any information followers need to successfully and skillfully carry out their responsibilities. Live your values. Leaders recognize the need to attract followers. Provide inspiration. they will be recognized and rewarded for their contribution. “What’s in it for me”? Successful leaders are honest about the potential risks inherent in the chosen path. Set the pace through your expectations and example. They are enabled and empowered to do their part in accomplishing the stated objectives.

" --Theodore Hesburgh. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. the leadership vision is even more powerful because people live the leadership vision every single day at work. People who have followed the leader for ten years will continue to follow unless they lose trust in the leader’s direction.Occasionally. Leadership Vision "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. a major source of the products recycled is charitable and donation partners who receive funds for their missions of service in return. values and goals of your organization’s leaders. repairs and resells wireless phones and other electronic devices. beliefs. Inc. they make thousands of products available for re-use. missiondriven people. Not only does the company keep millions of pounds of these devices out of landfills. Leadership qualities combined with positional power magnify the ability of an individual to attract the all-important followers. Additionally. is a mid-sized company that refurbishes. The vision of leadership permeates the workplace and is manifested in the actions. President of the University of Notre Dame "There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing. Employees are not just processing wireless devices to make money for company owners. the CEO. The leadership vision is powerful because the senior managers and leaders believe in the vision and mission. The ReCellular Leadership Vision ReCellular. plays a role in attracting and retaining followers. if you are an environmentally-committed person and care about the millions of electronic devices that can potentially reside in landfills. the founder of the business. the opportunity to serve many charitable and environmental causes while working simultaneously appeals to another group of vision. the leader is the person who is in charge. In fact. (These partners include the March of Dimes and the International Myeloma Foundation. They share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. In recent years.) Now. The leadership vision goes beyond your written organizational mission statement and your vision statement. Can a vision get any more powerful than this? Leadership Vision Fundamentals . Longevity. they are saving the tiniest babies or providing a safe haven for abused women. business owners can count on a certain amount of respect and followership based on their ownership and title. this leadership vision is most appealing. the president or department head." --James Kouzes and Barry Posner Leaders have vision. Not just a statement hanging on a wall. too. The ReCellular leadership vision is powerful.

The ability to communicate that passion. purpose.. Challenge people to outdo themselves.com "Coaching isn't a great mystery. and inspiration at the right moment. "Leadership is based on a spiritual quality.." --Bob Zuppke in The Book of Football Wisdom edited by Criswell Freeman. In fact. Help employees believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their daily work. Values . It's just hard work. purpose and meaning to others helps establish the inspirational culture of your organization. belief. Sharing that vision with others in a way that compels them to act is the secret to a successful leadership vision. culture. commitment and excitement in company members. your leaders can inspire with their own vision. values. beliefs and direction of the organization. Inspire enthusiasm. listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational." --Vince Lombbardi What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. About. 1996. The vision must: • • • • • • • Clearly set organizational direction and purpose. Passion. Vision. most businesses were started because the founder had a vision about what he or she could create. to stretch and reach. These are the fundamentals necessary for a vision that excites and motivates people to follow the leader. mission statement. These points will tell you how to enable inspiration and motivation in the people you lead. Inspire loyalty and caring through the involvement of all employees. Display and reflect the unique strengths. How Leaders Instill Inspiration in the People They Lead . determination. Leadership Inspiration Leadership Success Secrets By Susan M. and Build an Organization Based on Values.While your organization may not have such an intrinsically compelling vision as ReCellular. the power to inspire others to follow. Want to learn more about articulating a vision. values and the strategic framework needed by an organization? See Build a Strategic Framework: Mission Statement. Heathfield. Be regularly communicated and shared. the power to inspire.

Your actions play out on the stage of your organization. Talking to people about your passion is not enough. To “share meaning” .you must allow the ideas and thoughts of your staff to help form the vision and mission.my definition for communication . lives a "good" life and does their best. for real inclusion. Trust me. The inclusion led to a compromise that. • The inspirational leader listens to the people in her organization. Yes. tries to do the right things. And. too. people also need to feel included. vision and passion are important. the goals and action plan. yet allows the company to meet customer needs. Many people did not like the decision. No one is ever one hundred percent supportive of a direction they had no part in formulating. or minimally. your staff does boo and cheer and vote with their feet and their actions. as an example. still enables a celebration and a positive motivation boost. but employees must trust you to feel inspired. but we involved the whole management group.) The inspirational leader also understands that.• The inspirational leader feels passionately about the vision and mission of the organization. People need to see their ideas incorporated – or understand why they were not. Employees look up to a person who tells the truth. He or she is also able to share that passion in a way that enables others to feel passionate. Sometimes leaders have to help their staff connect the dots by explaining this big picture to all. people need to feel intimately connected to the actions and process that are leading to the accomplishment of the goals or the decision. Your “person” is as important as the direction you provide. while not perfect. Communicating the big picture regularly will help reinforce the reason your organization exists. Inclusion goes beyond the listening and feedback. the Activity Committee members and many other employees in the discussion about whether to cancel or reschedule the event. They must believe in you. (You can’t provide a raise in pay without company profitability. we cancelled an annual employee event because of customer orders for product. but you absolutely must share the rewards if the organization is doing well. while money is a . At a client company. • Important to inspiration is the integrity of the person leading. The nature of the vision and mission is critical for enabling others to feel as if their work has purpose and meaning beyond the tasks they perform each day. • To experience inspiration. an inspirational leader gives people what they want within his capabilities. • Finally.

com "Today many American corporations spend a great deal of money and time trying to increase the originality of their employees. leaders must develop a relationship with the people they inspire to follow them.recognition and praise. The foundation of this successful relationship is the leader’s ability to make people feel important. About.motivator. I wouldn't overemphasize its importance. hoping thereby to get a competitive edge in the marketplace. • Listen to what your coworkers. In addition to supplying a shared vision and direction. If you can’t . The leader excels at creating opportunities to provide rewards. peers and staff members have to say. Learn more about rewards and recognition in this fifth article in my Leadership Success series. as a limited quantity in organizations. The successful leadership relationship inspires people to become more than they might have been without the relationship. Ask people how their weekend turned out." --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ”There are two things people want more than sex and money -. Practicing simple courtesy is a powerful relationship-building tool." --Mary Kay Ash A leader makes other people feel important and appreciated.) So. so are praise. a thank you and noticing an individual’s contribution to a successful endeavor. although. Leadership Rewards and Recognition Leadership Success Secrets By Susan M. Heathfield. people accomplish and achieve more than they may ever have dreamed possible. Following an effective leader. (Sure. • Pay attention to people using common courtesy. rewards. recognition. money works to a certain extent. and then finds ways of implementing them. recognition and thanks to his or her staff. How Leaders Make People Feel Important Through Rewards and Recognition A key leadership trait is the ability to inspire followership. But such programs make no difference unless management also learns to recognize the valuable ideas among the many novel ones. A leader creates a work environment in which people feel important and appreciated. Say good morning. Listen giving full attention to the person seeking your attention. effective leaders need to demonstrate these practices. Ask whether Rebecca won her soccer match.

yet simple. Important people will think of you as a great leader. “We couldn’t have accomplished the goal without you. These are powerful. You’re right.pay full attention and listen actively. although a fellow consultant told me about an even more powerful rule . Know that Rebecca has a soccer match. set a time with the person to meet when you can.the platinum rule. Powerful. You gain much information from the ideas and opinions of others. magnifies the impact of the recognition. attend the meeting. Isn’t that a terrific idea?” You may think these actions sound a lot like leadership by the golden rule.” “The credit belongs to John.” “Your contribution saved the customer for the company. In the platinum rule. You didn’t think up the idea for senior staff review. • Keep your commitments to staff. you treat others as you wish to be treated. positive language in your interaction with others. Cancellation should not occur except in a true emergency. You make people feel special when you listen to them without distraction. A "thank you" note to the employee. positive recognition makes people feel important. In the golden rule. These are powerful. “Mary thought this approach would work well and I agree with her. People will feel important. Please share your ideas in the Community Connection Forum. Say "please" and "thank you" and "you're doing a good job. The bottom line? Believe people are important." Say. ways to make the people you employ feel important and appreciated.” Powerful. Think of more ways to reward and recognize and make people feel important? I’ll be happy to add them. positive recognition encourages your employees to contribute more of the same work in the future. you treat people as they wish to be treated. ways you can reward and recognize people. • Use powerful. Promised Pat a raise? Don’t do it unless you know you can keep your promise. If you have a meeting set up for Tuesday. Instead say. Act as if you believe people are important. . with a copy to her file. • Give staff public credit for contributions. • Put praise in writing. yet simple.

discipline/order. If leaders have identified and shared their values. honesty. excellence. competency. loyalty. friendliness. Heathfield. About. visibly will create trust. enjoyment/fun. security. the mistrust is understandable. the values and ethics you believe in and that define your character. A lack of trust is a problem in many workplaces. Dr. they become an organization joke if the leaders fail to live up to their published code. If leaders never identified their values in these workplaces. If the organization's leadership has a code of conduct and ethical expectations. dedication. influence. The best leaders exhibit both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. dignity. Your leadership ethics and values should be visible because you live them in your actions every single day. Leaders that exhibit ethical behavior powerfully influence the actions of others. courage. Tway calls trust a construct because it is "constructed" of these three components: “the capacity for trusting. To say one sentiment and to do another will damage trust . independence. the perception of competence. compassion. empathy. respect. accuracy. Don't waste your best opportunity. empowerment. Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you lead and influence others.Leadership Values and Ethics Secrets of Leadership Success By Susan M. integrity. collaboration. dependability.com Leaders know what they value. quality.possibly forever. teamwork. individuality. equality. People don't know what they can expect. They also recognize the importance of ethical behavior. Duane C. innovativeness. choose the values and the ethics that are most important to you. efficiency. learning. accomplishment. and the perception of intentions. Choose Your Leadership Values The following are examples of values. wisdom. generosity.” Workplace ethics take the same route. flexibility As a leader. service. challenge. three constructs of trust are explored. Then live them visibly every day at work. In Trust Rules: The Most Important Secret. responsibility. improvement. stewardship. persistency. credibility. accountability. . You might use these as the starting point for discussing values within your organization: ambition. diversity. living the values daily.optimism.

Values form the foundation for everything that happens in your workplace. If integrity is not a fundamental value. If you value and care about the people in your organization. Be the person others choose to follow. If you are the founder of an organization. dental insurance. you may make excuses and mislead the customer. and inequality such as executive parking places and offices that grow larger by a foot with every promotion. retirement accounts and provide regular raises and bonuses for dedicated staff. Provide vision for the future. Provide opportunities for people to grow. If you value equality and a sense of family.you are here. The values. you undoubtedly selected an organization with values congruent with your own. Sample Workplace Value-based Actions If you value integrity and you experience a quality problem in your manufacturing process.Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style Much is written about what makes successful leaders. both personally and professionally. you honestly inform your customer of the exact nature of the problem. you will pay for health insurance. as an individual. will largely govern the actions of your workforce. I believe. what you personally value. If you are generally happy with your work environment. Behave ethically. and the subsequent culture created by those values. Provide inspiration. most of you work in organizations that have already operated for many years. traits and actions that. Live your values. Make other people feel important and appreciated. Care and act with compassion. (Current article . not their talk. . watch for the disconnects between what you value and the actions of people in your organization. you will wipe out the physical trappings of power. You discuss your actions to eliminate the problem. are in place." You’ve heard these words many times. if you work in an organization. You naturally hire people who share your values. Whatever You Value Is What You Live in Your Organization You know. I will focus on the characteristics. Whatever you value. are key.) Set the pace through your expectations and example. and the anticipated delivery time the customer can expect. If you're not. status. for better or worse. and values are visible through the actions people take. • • • • • • • • • • Choose to lead. However. These words are the clear expression of a value. "Our people are our most important asset. Establish an environment of continuous improvement. Yet how many organizations act as if they really believe these words? Not many. your values permeate the workplace.

you can invest the time to proactively define them to best serve members of the organization and its customers. Mission/Purpose is a precise description of what an organization does. and values. You can allow these fundamental underpinnings of your organization to develop on their own with each individual acting in a selfdefined vacuum. The values members of the organization manifest in daily decision making. are also visible.As an HR professional. A vision should stretch the organization’s capabilities and image of itself. It is a definition of "why" the organization exists currently. Next. values. Every organization has a choice. Value statements are grounded in values and define how people want to behave with each other in the organization. customers. you will want to work within your own HR organization to identify a strategic framework for serving your customers that is firmly value-based. Vision is a statement about what the organization wants to become. . Many successful organizations agree upon and articulate their vision. suppliers. The current mission of the organization or the purpose for its existence is also understood in general terms. and the norms or relationship guidelines which informally define how people interact with each other and customers. excited. Value statements describe actions that are the living enactment of the fundamental values held by most individuals within the organization. Minimally. They are statements about how the organization will value customers. But are these usually vague and unspoken understandings enough to fuel your long term success? I don’t think so. Each member of an organization should be able to verbally express this mission. mission or purpose. whether foggy or crystal clear. Values are traits or qualities that are considered worthwhile. Strategic Framework Every organization has a vision or picture of what it desires for its future. mission. they represent an individual’s highest priorities and deeply held driving forces. The vision should resonate with all members of the organization and help them feel proud. and strategies so all organization members can enroll in and own their achievement. you will want to influence your larger organization to identify its core values. It should describe the business the organization is in. Or. and suppliers. Want the background about why values are important in an organization? See the impact that identifying organizational values can have. It gives shape and direction to the organization’s future. read about the strategic planning framework to create your vision. and make them the foundation for its interactions with employees. and part of something much bigger than themselves. and the internal community.

diversity. individuality.Strategies are the broadly defined four or five key approaches the organization will use to accomplish its mission and drive toward the vision. People will feel fooled and misled unless they see the impact of the exercise within your organization. Create an opportunity for as many people as possible to participate in this process. learning. You might use these as the starting point for discussing values within your organization. Values guide every decision that is made once the organization has cooperatively created the values and the value statements. What are Values? The following are examples of values. teamwork. friendliness. independence. persistency. empathy. the following must occur. compassion. collaboration. Once defined. equality. ambition. accountability. enjoyment/fun. Organizational goals are grounded in the identified values. innovativeness. dependability. If you want the values you identify to have an impact. • • • • • • People demonstrate and model the values in action in their personal work behaviors. contribution. challenge. values impact every aspect of your organization. wisdom.optimism. generosity. Rewards and recognition within the organization are structured to recognize those people whose work embodies the values the organization embraced. influence. improvement. discipline/order. quality. dignity. honesty. dedication. stewardship. Organizational values help each person establish priorities in their daily work life. and direction so that everyone understands and can contribute. accuracy. empowerment. One example of a strategy is employee empowerment and teams. . loyalty. All the rest of your strategic framework should grow from living these. decision making. responsibility. Goals and action plans usually flow from each strategy. service. security. excellence. courage. I recommend that you start developing this strategic framework by identifying your organization’s values. priorities. Another is to streamline your current distribution system using lean management principles. accomplishment. respect. You must support and nurture this impact or identifying values will have been a wasted exercise. efficiency. and interpersonal interaction. Adoption of the values and the behaviors that result is recognized in regular performance feedback. competency. flexibility Why Identify and Establish Values? Effective organizations identify and develop a clear. Another is to pursue a new worldwide market in Asia. concise and shared meaning of values/beliefs. credibility. integrity.

The best leaders exhibit both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions.• • People hire and promote individuals whose outlook and actions are congruent with the values.optimism. empathy. Leadership Values and Ethics Secrets of Leadership Success By Susan M. dependability. friendliness. efficiency. accountability. Your leadership ethics and values should be visible because you live them in your actions every single day. the mistrust is understandable.” Workplace ethics take the same route. diversity. Tway calls trust a construct because it is "constructed" of these three components: “the capacity for trusting. Choose Your Leadership Values The following are examples of values. If leaders have identified and shared their values. values. dedication. and strategies defined. influence. accuracy. enjoyment/fun. value-based. challenge. They also recognize the importance of ethical behavior. discipline/order. respect. About. credibility. empowerment. Heathfield. security. flexibility . wisdom. excellence. equality. Want more indepth information about each of these? See vision. shared culture. People don't know what they can expect.com Leaders know what they value. living the values daily. responsibility. You might use these as the starting point for discussing values within your organization: ambition. visibly will create trust. generosity. service. If leaders never identified their values in these workplaces. Dr. To say one sentiment and to do another will damage trust . independence. dignity. stewardship. integrity. innovativeness. individuality. teamwork. learning. courage. Only the active participation of all members of the organization will ensure a truly organization-wide. Leaders that exhibit ethical behavior powerfully influence the actions of others. collaboration. In Trust Rules: The Most Important Secret. the perception of competence. improvement. compassion. and the perception of intentions. quality. A lack of trust is a problem in many workplaces. accomplishment. honesty. persistency. three constructs of trust are explored. they become an organization joke if the leaders fail to live up to their published code. loyalty. competency. mission or purpose. If the organization's leadership has a code of conduct and ethical expectations. Duane C.possibly forever.

As a leader. choose the values and the ethics that are most important to you. Then live them visibly every day at work. . Living your values is one of the most powerful tools available to you to help you lead and influence others. Don't waste your best opportunity. the values and ethics you believe in and that define your character.