My Five Components of Excellent Leadership

Webster’s Dictionary defines leadership as “the power or ability to lead other people,” but for most people, there’s a lot more to it than that.

About a year ago, I replied to a press inquiry from someone writing an article on leadership and was soliciting quotes. I provided mine, and then was totally surprised when, over the past year, over two dozen other writers and bloggers have picked it up and used it!

This is my initial quote was included in the article on “Business News Daily.”

“Effective leadership is providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal.”

Link to the complete original article “33 Ways to Define Leadership.”

Now let me break this quote down into five important components of leadership, piece by piece:

1) Providing the vision and motivation to a team … A good leader understands the overall vision and goals for the team and then expresses it in a clear and dynamic way so that entire team understands it and is motivated to support it. This could also include soliciting input from the team members when forming the vision and goals. When people have a role in “vision forming,” they more frequently will take personal ownership.

2) So they work together toward the same goal … It is important for the leader to serve as a unifying force for the team and encouraging and rewarding good team work. This often can be difficult; a leader may sometimes need to address issues or people who are working on their own agenda instead of the team’s.

3) Understanding the talents and temperaments of each individual… And then the good leader understands that members of the team bring a diverse collection talents, temperaments and styles. The good leader will take the time to learn about and understand each team member and work to fully leverage and utilize their unique skills to the maximum benefit for the team project.

4) Effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best… and though the leader is leading and motivating the team, the excellent leader knows how to best motivate each individual. Some people may need more prodding and pushing than others. Some people are positively motivated by more frequent praise and feedback. Others may be seeking a financial bonus or career promotion. It is important for a good leader to customize their leadership style to best address each individual.

5) And finally … toward achieving the group goal… Leadership comes around full circle to where we began; achieving results. A good leader keeps their eyes on the end game and the results they are trying to achieve, and continues to lead the team and each individual toward accomplishing that team goal.

Excellent leaders can have a profound and positive impact on driving business results, and all organizations should continue to train and foster effective leaders who build and lead effective teams of talented individuals who achieve team goals and reap personal fulfillment.

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Here are some of the other articles that later picked up and used my leadership quote:

Leadership Definitions by Scholars

In his “The Leadership Challenge” blog about what true leadership is, consultant Andrew John Harrison includes my quote along with 14 others. Who are the 15 quotes from? They include Ronald Reagan, John C. Maxwell, Ernest Hemingway, Dolly Parton, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower …. and ME!

On page 15 of the January / February 2016 issue of “Mentor Magazine”

More NC HB-2 Discussion – Two Business Perspectives

TBJ Editor Sougata Mukherjee (right) interviewing American City Business Journals CEO Whit Shaw at the Feb. 23 Power Breakfast (photo courtesy of the Triangle Business Journal)

As a quick refresher, North Carolina’s HB2 law, passed last spring, dictated that transgender people must use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in public facilities, and that municipalities may not pass legislation protecting its citizens from discrimination beyond that already described at the state level. The result has been a huge departure of convention, sporting and entertainment events, as well as potential major business expansion, from the state. See links to my previous blogs about HB2 at the bottom.

The discussion continues to drag on and on, and now the proponents of HB-2 are further emboldened by President Trump’s administration’s recent roll back of federal protections for transgender students. (link to news article)

I now continue this discussion by adding the two different business perspectives: from a senior executive in his mid-60’s speaking to a group of local business leaders, and from a recent college graduate.

From the senior executive: On February 23, I attended the quarterly Triangle Business Journal Power Breakfast with other Triangle area business leaders. The speaker was Whit Shaw, CEO of American City Business Journals, which distributes 43 different business publications across major US cities. To kick off the Q&A portion of the session, Triangle Business Journal editor Sougata Mukherjee asked Mr. Shaw for his perspective on HB2.

“I can flat out tell you that it has changed the conversation about North Carolina,” he said, recounting conversations with executives across the country. “It has distracted us from the conversations that we should be having, namely, how are we going to keep growing? How are we going to provide good jobs for the people in this state? How are we going to get things done?” (Quote from TBJ article about the event, link to the full TBJ story)

Mr. Shaw did comment that the North Carolina economy is clearly losing significant amounts of revenue, including opportunities that we did not even know we were in the running for. He stated that we are continually spending time and money on this issue and thus losing sight of the real conversations we need to have that will determine our state’s future.

From a recent college graduate: My 24-year old very straight but definitely not narrow cousin Brandon just graduated with his Sociology degree from NC State while working full time. He enjoys discussing current events with me.

On the same day I attended the TBJ Power Breakfast, Brandon and I had this text conversation:

Blog author Stan Kimer with his cousin Brandon at his recent graduation from NC State. As a young millennial, Brandon understands the business impact of discriminatory laws.

BRANDON: “How horrible is this strip of protection by the Trump administration. So transgender students have no protection over the bathroom they can use now?”

ME: “It is now a big mess and is in limbo since it will now be state by state and by school district, plus there are still open court cases.”

BRANDON: “So pretty much all transgender people are going to migrate to the liberal states where they feel protected like New York, Colorado and California?”

ME: “That certainly could happen, especially with the talented ones who have the resources to move.”

BRANDON: “Yeah, it’s horrible”

Yes, an older senior executive gets it. Yes, a recent college graduate gets it. HB2 is a huge negative impact on our economy in terms revenue and workforce talent. Too bad our politicians don’t get it.

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My earlier blogs on HB2:

Five Impacts of North Carolina’s Infamous HB2

On entertainer Cyndi Lauper’s alternative approach to boycotting NC over HB2

On the politics of division and hate that led to HB2.

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