The following was forwarded to me from my friend and mentor Dale Brown. Excerpted by Phillip V Olsen, President of Know Your Strengths from the book "The Leadership Challenge" by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Pozner.
Research conducted by the authors discovered five leadership practices that are shared by successful leaders. They include:
Challenging the Process
Those who lead others to greatness are challenge seekers. The challenge may be a product innovation or a reorganization that bucks the status quo. Often the leader’s role has more to do with recognizing the need for change and supporting and directing innovations than actually creating innovations. Great leaders take risks. They support experiments that may even result in failure because each failure brings the experimenter one step closer to success. Leaders learn from their mistakes (and the mistakes of others) as well as learning from their triumphs.
Inspiring a Shared Vision
Successful leaders have vision—a desire to change, create, and make things happen. They visualize the results of their vision before they realize how they will arrive at those results. Leaders must engage followers to help them turn their vision into a reality. Leaders get others to buy into their vision by enabling them to see the exciting possibilities and benefits of accomplishments. The leader’s own belief in and enthusiasm for the vision are the sparks that ignite inspiration in their followers.
Enabling Others to Act
Exemplary leaders enthusiastically enlist the support and assistance of all who must help make the project work. Leaders make it possible for their followers to do good work---they garner the resources, human and otherwise, that their team needs to be successful. They encourage collaboration, build teams and empower others. And, empowered people are much more likely to use their energies to produce extraordinary results.
Modeling the Way
Leaders must practice what they preach. They have to plan and lead by example if they want an enthusiastic following. Great leaders consistently demonstrate the characteristics, behaviors and values they believe are necessary to achieve the desired results.
Encouraging the Heart
The road to success can be long and difficult. It’s common for people to become exhausted, disheartened and frustrated as they encounter difficulties along the way. Leaders must encourage the heart of their followers to carry on despite adversity. One way of providing encouragement is by making a special point to celebrate successes along the way. And, successes can range from the completion of a significant project milestone to something as simple as receiving a compliment from a customer.
Here are a few practical suggestions for effective leadership:
1) Build your Team-Trust Your Subordinates
A leader cannot expect subordinates to maximize their efforts if they do not believe they are trusted and respected by their leader. Trust and respect among and between subordinates is also essential.
2) Develop a Vision
People want to follow someone who knows where they’re going.
3) Keep Your Cool
The best leaders show strong character, perseverance and tenacity under fire. “Circumstances don’t make the person, they merely reveal them.”
4) Encourage Risk-taking
Nothing can demoralize followers more quickly than believing that the slightest failure could ruin their career.
5) Be an Expert
Followers must be confident that their leader is knowledgeable.
6) Invite Constructive Dissent
Subordinates need to be encouraged and empowered to speak their mind on matters important to team success.
When communicating with subordinates, leaders must present the big picture in a clear, understandable and honest manner.