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”

Career and Leadership Inspiration from a Local Business Executive

Here in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill area of Raleigh, the Triangle Business Journal sponsors a quarterly breakfast meeting called the “Power Breakfast” where business executives from across our region gather to network and hear from powerful area business leaders.

Machelle Sanders, VP of Manufacturing & GM for RTP Campus of Biogen Idec

Friday November 2 we were inspired by Machelle Sanders, an African-American woman from a small town in Eastern North Carolina who has risen to become the VP of Manufacturing and General Manager for the over 1000 person campus of pharmaceutical industry leader Biogen Idec. Before sharing her 12 “enablers for success,” she shared briefly about herself as a servant – leader, risk taker and hard worker.

Machelle Sander’s twelve enablers for success:

1. Follow your passion. For Machelle, her passion is serving and helping others, for which a senior leadership role is an ideal platform.

2. Be able to relate to anyone. This is particular helpful in resolving and mitigating disputes.

3. Seek opportunities with different levels of responsibility. Take educated calculated risks in leaving your comfort zone. Machelle did this in leaving a long time career into quality assurance to take on manufacturing leadership.

4. Take ownership of both your accomplishment and mistakes.

5. Learn to thrive in uncertainty. Today, constant change is the norm.

6. Don’t be afraid to promote and brand yourself. Focus on your strengths.

7. Leadership is key … and it comes in many forms. It does not only mean directly managing others. Building trust is the cornerstone for establishing yourself as a leader.

8. Be watchful for fear of failure. Do not let failure derail you or hold you back.

9. Inspire others. (And Machelle, you did that superbly in this session!)

10. Rewards those who excel. This helps motivate them. And rewards are not just financial.

11. Maintain your authenticity.

12. Be self-aware of your own blind spots.

If you are in the area, consider coming to this quarterly series. And for anyone who wants to provide an innovate career development framework for your organization, please contact me to discuss my career road mapping services.