Are You Embodying the Leadership Skills You Value?
This week I have been reflecting on the characteristics of a good leader, the leadership behaviors that resonate most with me, and whether or not I embody those characteristics. I was coaching a new leader who is working on establishing confidence and credibility in her role. During our coaching call, she created a list of the qualities she believes are those of a good leader. From there we discussed her behaviors that affirmed those leadership qualities. As homework, I challenged her to notice when she is or isn’t demonstrating the leadership qualities that are important to her and report back at our next session.
Our conversation got me thinking about creating my own list of important leadership characteristics. A former manager came to mind. This person inspired me to work more intentionally, effectively, and with more dedication than anyone ever had, which I was happy to do every day.
This leader was effective by appreciating team members, instilling confidence by believing in people, possessing extremely high standards, and having the team’s back. There are many other positive leadership qualities my manager demonstrated that are also important to me. However, this particular combination of leadership characteristics motivated me to work hard not only to meet, but also to exceed my manager’s expectations.
It was inspiring to work for someone who both pushed me and supported me. My manager had complete faith in me and was a champion for me. The trust and respect was mutual. It was the real deal. I found myself motivated to produce high quality work that impressed my manager, and I wanted kudos for my efforts. There was always a “thank you” and acknowledgment of the work I’d produced. I didn’t feel taken for granted. Doing my job extremely well was something I strived for each day, even beyond the high standards I normally have for myself.
From day one, I felt valued, which set the tone for our relationship. My manager was happy to have me join the team. It was not just stated with warmth and genuine enthusiasm, it was confirmed. Preparations were made in advance of my arrival–my workspace, a schedule of meetings and trainings, and one-on-one time with team members. During training, my manager complimented me for picking things up quickly, asking good questions, contributing to the conversation, and noticing nuances. This helped me establish trust quickly and was a solid foundation for our professional relationship.
In contemplating how motivated I was to work hard for a manager I believed in and who believed in me, I reflected upon whether I was leading my team with the same behaviors that inspired me. For me, demonstrating the leadership skills I admire is one way of being in integrity, which is one of my strongest values. While each of us can list off leadership qualities and behaviors that are important to us, we might not be living those or striving for them. We might not be growing our leadership skills or consistently tapping into them.
If you aren’t embodying the leadership behaviors you know are important to you, why not? What’s preventing you from following through? What leadership skills do you need to cultivate? Consider coaching. I can help you get clear on what is most important to you and strategize with you to create an action plan for your future. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.