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Where are the Leaders?
Editors Note: Thank you to Andrew Thorn for contributing this post as a Guest Blogger.  Andrew is the founder of Telios Corporation, a leadership development firm focused on using assessment, training and coaching to accelerate individual, team and organizational growth.

Leaders are in short supply. It is becoming increasingly difficult to identify high potential and emerging leaders. Those that are good, know it, and are demanding high levels of compensation. Leaders are more transient than ever. Not only are they willing to change jobs, but they are also willing to change careers and industries. I am constantly asked to identify the characteristics of a successful leader.

Successful leaders understand how to self-govern. They do not wait for somebody to tell them what to do or to provide training. They constantly seek their own training program and look for ways to develop individually. They understand the importance of leading across the organization. This means that they may at times lead their managers, peers and/or direct reports. They are comfortable in doing this. They understand their role and the power they possess. They do not overstep their boundaries, yet they manage to create success on all levels.

How do they do this? They do it by understanding their own personal strengths and the areas where they need to develop. They are constantly seeking information about their abilities and behaviors. They are not afraid to ask others for help. They are not afraid to share their goals. They clearly define what needs to be done, before they ask how they are going to do it. Once it is defined they will not settle for mediocrity. They are continually stepping up to new levels and leveraging the perceptions of others to reach those great heights. They do not expect to be told what to do, they determine what do and then do it.

Not only do they know what to do, they also understand what not to do. They avoid the traps that can derail their success. They live in the moment and forgive themselves when they make a mistake. They let others make mistakes and treat each mistake as a learning opportunity rather than a setback. They avoid winning at all cost. They do not make destructive comments about co-workers, instead they build others up. They add value, but not too much value. In other words they understand that the contributions of others carry equal weight to their own. They are not self-centered; they can easily subordinate their own agenda to that of the group or team. They do not wait for success to come to them; they go out and get it.

The characteristics of a successful leader are too numerous to discuss and list here. The next time you are wondering what successful leaders do, find someone you think demonstrates these characteristics and pick their brain. You will be surprised to find that they are more than willing to share their secrets. They know how important it is to learn from others and so they are willing to help others learn.

3 Comments/Trackbacks

Hal and Andrew, it seems to me that what you are suggesting between the lines here is that the best leaders find restrictions imposed by current mainstream organizations far too rigid and so they move and reposition, as a way to survive with their integrity and innovative visions. Have I read this correctly? If so, is that good or not so good? Thoughts?

Good question Ellen, thanks for allowing me the opporunity to clarify.

Actually, what I was saying is that the best leaders do not wait for others to train them. This does not mean that they are looking for the next best job, sometimes this happens naturally.

I speak with too many people that think the responsibility of training rests solely upon the organization. The best leaders I know are constantly developing themselves personally. This propels them to greater leadership skill, ability and behavior which makes them more desirable to others. I am sure you can think of a leader that you know that demonstrates this.

Most leaders just want to make things happen and get things done. They are not focused on moving around. I know many leaders that are underpaid but over appreciated and so they stay where they are happily contibuting to the goals of their organization.

I did not mean to suggest that leaders find restrictions rigid, in fact most leaders appreciate it when clear boundaries are set, they get ticked though when the boundaries constantly change.

There are many different types of effective leaders. Those that are innovative but stuck in an organization that does not value innovation find themselves looking to move.

» Guest Bloggers Featured on the KMM Network, Wednesday from Know More Media
More guest bloggers made their voices heard on our blogs on Wednesday. They were:  Guy Kawasaki: ‘Images of an Ever-changing China’ on PanAsianBiz. Lorraine Miller-Nara: ‘Communicating Between Cultures’ on www.PanAsianBiz.c... [Read More]

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