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What are your leadership best practices?

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.  (Andrew Carnegie)

Leader. Manager. Task master.  How do you define yourself?  There are a multitude of definitions of leaders and leadership.  Ultimately, it’s not about the title or designation but on the impact you make.  Personal character is critical to effective leadership.  In their book The Extraordinary Leader–Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders–John H. Zenger and Joseph R. Folkman offer some suggestions as to how character is defined in leaders:

  • Making decisions with the organization paramount in their mind, versus allowing a personal agenda to influence decisions
  • Keeping commitments that are made
  • Practicing self-development; constantly learning
  • Being receptive to, and specifically asking for, feedback from others
  • Being approachable by anyone
  • Treating everyone the same (no “smiling up and kicking down” behavior)
  • Treating the waitress and bellhop with dignity, as well as people of high status
  • Trusting other people; assuming they have good intentions
  • Working collaboratively with others, versus seeing everyone as a competitor
  • Not acting in an arrogant manner toward others
  • Being tenacious and not giving up because something is difficult
  • Having emotional resilience; adjusting rapidly to changing environments

Whether you are a head of a community organization, a self-employed professional, or front-line supervisor, give thought to these character traits. Rate yourself and see how you measure up.  Don’t hide behind your title.  People are smart.  At the end of the day, you will have an impact when you hold yourself to the highest personal standards.

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