J B Burton, Essential Elements of Leadership Reference link.
Taking the queue from the common sense and motivational article by J. B. Burton on leadership, following are the same critical talking points from his perspective, but offered from my own experience and education… You can contrast and compare, but will find much agreement from many seasoned leaders who thrive on empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and transparency.
Integrity—Individual and Collective. Leadership is earned by building a culture of trust and kindred spirits. From the very beginning of my long career in many roles as a manager and executive, especially in relationships with customers, I took a personal oath to never sell my soul, or to compromise the higher goals and aspirations of the team or each individual in my circle of care and influence. Power is not swinging your weight around and dictating to others, it is as a facilitator, helping others achieve their personal and career goals…and to have fun doing it.
Inspiration–Leaders are community builders of success. We know that it takes a team to win. We know that individual performance counts and must be celebrated. Leaders behave as coaches, inspiring and teaching others to be the best of the best. Leaders also learn from team members and love constructive dialog and actions that take the team to a higher level of performance and reward. Leaders set the tone for ownership of goals and objectives, and never fail to be on hand to help the team as a whole to win, or spend quality time with each team member to inspire a higher level of performance.
Mentorship and Coaching: Leaders know that organizational and individual accountability are critical success factors in any enterprise. Working with team members and stakeholders to achieve buy-in for the larger vision, goals, and objectives is crucial to excellence in meeting targets both long and short term. Just as important is consistent communications on the status of quantifiable objectives and in identifying what is required to fix short falls in meeting targets and expectations. Give and take interpersonal communications and trust are at the center of a consistently improving and high achieving enterprise. The little things count and add up to winning the big game!
Learning: Leaders are great listeners and learners. We do not pretend to have all the answers. We rely on collective impact and build a culture of learning and innovation.
Discipline: Effective leaders practice doing the right things, the right way, and at the right time. There must be a quality assurance expectation of self and others. Leaders model discipline in working each task as a critical step in achieving higher goals. We practice preventative maintenance every step of the way, and promote a look back at lessons learned.
Dialogue–Internally and Externally. One of the best ways to find out how your organization is perceived from the outside looking in, is ask a customer or a stakeholder. It is easy to become self absorbed and complacent from the inside. Build your outreach strategies and programs based on external input and from stakeholders, and from those around you on the inside. Consistently revisit the question, “how are we doing?” Look at how your competition does business and learn best practices.
Empowerment–Allow your team members the freedom to make mistakes and learn. Coach your team and individual contributors to take ownership along the way. Show them how to manage upward. Never wait for the phone to ring! Each member of your team should be a leader in bringing solutions to problems, ideas, and success stories to the top for optimum visibility, to reinforce others, and to inspire. Confidence as a team and as an individual is critical to success.
Measures of Effectiveness and Accountability— Leaders must be very good at quantifying and measuring results and overall effectiveness. We must look at symptomatic conditions that either lead to success or sometimes failure. Fix the larger problem, do not put a patch on a symptom of a larger problem. Measuring effectiveness should be a natural inclination of any successful enterprise. I call it the culture of ownership! We leaders are constantly looking at getting better just about every minute of the day…
I am often asked about the “magic sauce” of a highly successful team that seems to thrive consistently, even under tough circumstances. It is in the hearts and minds of kindred spirits that make an enterprise the best it can be. It is in the above points on the elements of effective leadership that represent the custom development of a specific recipe for your brand of “magic sauce.”
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click on the highlighted text for my author page…