What Are The Qualities of a Leader?

QUESTION: Our organization is full of people that “think” they are leaders. In many cases, I suspect they have yet to wake up from their dream. How would you define a true leader?
(Marsha B, HR Director, Manufacturing)

ANSWER; My immediate response was to start typing with speed for all the things a leader is not. In my consulting practice as well as our recruiting division, we see many “leader want to-be types.” Some are good and many not so good. So please indulge me and I’ll give you what I call a “Mancusoism” which is the way I define a leaders twelve most important qualities;

1. Excellent listener
2. Business like, yet compassionate
3. Truly cares about the success of the people around him/her
4. Untiring perseverance level of willingness to teach others
5. Always gives the accolades of success to his/her team
6. Willing to stand on point when situations don’t quite go as planned
7. Respects the opinion of the people around him/her
8. Encourages staff to develop ideas and plans
9. Micro Managing is not in his/her vocabulary
10. Knowing that the title of manager, doesn’t necessarily make you a leader
11. Communication is an everyday practice
12. Staff always know where they stand with him/her

There is little doubt that I will get Emails with another 12 valid points. But when I talk about the qualities of a leader above, I truly mean that they possess most or all of what I have identified. Most managers who THINK they are leaders but perform poorly at it, typically treat people badly and don’t communicate worth a hoot.

May this week be one of the best of year so far for you and your family. Call or write if I can help in any way.


How do values fit in?

July 5, 2009

Q: Many companies follow the rational strategy development model that includes Vision, Values, Mission, Objectives, AND Strategy. I understand, operationally, how all of these other than values fit in, taking a company forward. What good is spending time figuring out organizational values if nobody pays any attention to them?
(William R., EVP – Construction Industry – Mananas, VA)

A: This statement begs the question of whether it is the poor articulation of values or their lack of use that is the issue. I would agree that too many companies place too little emphasis on defining their values. Even when they do, the values they do articulate are often inspirational and not the values currently espoused or acted on by the management and employees. When they don't, it is frequently because management fails to see how values could be "used" in executing the strategy they have developed.

What we can miss is that values are more foundational in an organization's day-to-day operations than strategies or tactics. If tactics are what you do, then values are who you are. In crafting the long view of strategy, a consensus on values underlies your decision making and problem solving processes. When a problem arises that challenges you in ways not foreseen by strategy, then values are what you must have to reconcile the conflicts in those decisions. For example, how should a company resolve a conflict between an employee and a customer if you haven't had a full conversation about how you honoring employees compared to how you serve customers.

If your company has not had a serious conversation recently about values, you could provide value by facilitating that discussion. Whether your specialization is in leadership, human resources, process management, marketing or any other area, a conversation about values as a way to increase the consistency and fairness of decision making is a natural leadership function.

The beginning of month seven, 2009 is in full swing. Have a great week and a tremendous month.

George F. Mancuso, CPC