If you want to be an exceptional leader who motivates people to perform at peak levels, you must work constantly at building an UNSHAKABLE CHARACTER. In this week's lesson we will discuss the characteristics that are essential to being a great leader.
Integrity is at the top of the list. This means doing what you say you will do, period! It means being trustworthy. It means keeping your promises and being a leader that your followers can always rely on. It is very clear that if you set a good example at the top, integrity will naturally trickle down throughout your organization.
If leaders have a habit of not coming through and not keeping their word, you can expect their followers will have no problem doing the same. On the other hand, if a leader is one who always keeps his or her word, then their followers will develop a sense of responsibility to do the same.
Optimism is also a must. No one wants to follow a leader who thinks that the future is bad! They want to follow a leader who views challenges optimistically and with confidence. They want to work for a leader who provides a bright future for the team. Being optimistic will bring out the very best in your constituents; it will motivate them. Pessimism brings everyone down and almost always breeds low productivity.
Great leaders must embrace change. Leaders are always first to see the need for change and are willing to embrace it. There are usually risks in change. However, great leaders are not afraid to take calculated risks. Followers will at first desire to stay where they are. Leaders must calculate the risks and what is to be gained from taking them. Then they plan well and communicate the benefits of change to their followers and off they go. If you don't change or take risks, you cannot grow. You will usually go backwards.
Everything changes all of the time. You cannot rest on your laurels. Many times, a company or organization will make a big change for the better and that will be it for the next ten years. Always be sure that you are able to change today, tomorrow, and the next day, etc… Once every ten years is not good enough to stay competitive.
Being tenacious is another vital character trait for a leader. The tendency of a follower is to quit when the going gets tough. Not the leader! They know what good lies beyond the tough roads and they muster up the energy to "Go For It," taking their followers with them!
A leader must also be a catalyst. They need a strong personality who gets people going when things need to get done. They are able to move others out of their comfort zone and on towards the goal! They raise the passion and enthusiasm of their people in order to move them into ACTION.
Finally a great leader must be the most committed and dedicated individual on the team. Followers want people who are more devoted and committed than them. At the first sign of a lack of commitment, followers will moan and groan or run for the doors.
A powerful leader does not have to boss people around. Actually, if you are an effective, highly skilled leader, their followers will not feel that they have a boss, but rather a partner. Their greatest positive influence will result from their ability to lead by example. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Well done is better than well said."
Many CEO's and leaders become very comfortable with their positions and high flying lifestyles. They manage companies and organizations for the purpose of personal wealth and status. They forget about the importance of risk management; efficiency; and the long term health of their organization. Just look at the mess we face today from the failures of Bear Stearns, Fanny and Freddy; Lehman Brothers WaMu and the rest of the bunch of failures in the marketplace. These leaders did not have unshakable characters. Their poor judgment caught up with them and their luck ran out. Now everyone must pay the price to pick up the pieces.
As you can see, CHARACTER COUNTS towards becoming a great LEADER. Don't ever settle for mediocrity. Let integrity guide your daily decisions. Always strive toward building an UNSHAKABLE CHARACTER!