This video outlines 10 leadership qualities of a relaxed and comfortable leader.
Do you have the skills required to be a respected and well-loved leader?
Rate yourself against the qualities noted in this video and then start making changes to increase your leadership success.
Meet the ultimate Ten
‘Steve’ was a former colleague of mine in the Leisure industry and about a year ago I recommended him for an Executive role. Frankly, I raved about him and my comments were so laudatory I thought there was no way the CEO I was talking to would believe me. Luckily for her, she did and promptly hired him.
The other day, the CEO and I met for coffee and this time she was the one who was glowing in her praise of Steve.
Interestingly, many of the attributes of ‘my’ wonderful Executive showed up as being important in numerous US-based employee 2019 surveys. Clearly, it’s not just my CEO-friend or myself who rates these qualities as important so it’s well worth you taking a look.
Just what was so wonderful about this Executive? Here are ten keys to his success for you to assess yourself against.
- He never walked past behaviour that needed addressing.
This takes energy and commitment. Many of us get caught up in the activity we are in the midst of when the bad behaviour is occurring. We think that we can deal with it later. The trouble is that we either forget or else find lots of reasons why we don’t need to act. Steve always acted. Further, he understood that managing poor performance was not always black and white. He was never afraid to consult with the HR team to talk though best options. And, he always displayed the following famous but simple quote prominently in his office so that his team could see it: ‘The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’
- He wasn’t distracted by unimportant activity and cut through to the core of an issue.
Steve worked once for an organisation where they spent lots of energy applying for one-off government grants. The staff members would congratulate themselves about how much money they raised but Steve recognised that once-in-a-lifetime income which didn’t result in long term positive changes to operations was just a distraction. He refused to support one-off funding efforts and instead focused on meaningful change.
- He was technically competent and innovative.
Steve looked to data as a basis of his decisions and then employed critical thinking. He developed a hypothesis, tested that hypothesis with analysis, and drew conclusions from what the data told him. (Interestingly, Harvard Business School Online has identified data analytics as one of the three tops skills needed for success in 2021.) Now, when we worked together, Leisure centres ran on crazy-tiny margins. If the data showed that change was needed, Steve would act immediately. He used his knowledge of the industry to introduce either a new income stream or an increase in our margins on current services.
- He was unpretentious and ethical.
Steve is a country lad, so perhaps that’s why he treated everyone the same. There was never any doubt that he was the boss but he didn’t use his position to lord it over people and he didn’t use language to intimidate anyone. When we worked together, our Leisure centre staff across the company were entitled to transfer from casual status to full time after 12 months. Yet, NONE of them did! They believed that Steve and his Managers would treat them ethically and that they were safe. They pocketed the 25% loading and slept soundly at night, knowing that they would get their shifts and would not be subjected to arbitrary behaviour.
- He focused on cost control.
Steve treated the company money as if it were his own. In our low margin private business that made sense, of course. Yet, when Steve left our company and worked for a large corporate, he continued to watch the pennies. He had an inherent disgust of waste and ensured that suppliers offered best service and best prices.
- He respected his staff when performance managing them.
It was truly amazing the number of times a staff member would tell me how much they liked and respected Steve, immediately after a meeting with him where he was addressing their poor behaviour. Steve would explain the issue in clear and unequivocal language, and would not accept any tricks that someone might use to excuse their behaviour. He’d come right back to the point and hold them accountable in a polite but firm manner. This combination of respect and rigour worked a treat.
- He knew his own worth and had high levels of confidence.
When you know that you have a strong moral compass, it gives you strength. When you know that you perform well, it brings confidence. Steve was proud of his work and his efforts. He was not afraid to negotiate all manner of things, from sharing resources with fellow Execs to his own salary.
- He used the 80/20 Pareto rule to achieve effectiveness.
Steve learned early on that poor recruitment almost always resulted in problems down the track. He invested his time and intellect in getting it right. He never moaned about the extra effort that our hiring processes may have caused. He just got on with it and did it. As a result, our bad turnover numbers reduced as did the time we spent managing poor performance.
- He looked after his body and didn’t work ridiculous hours.
I can always remember reading of a partner at the global consulting company McKinsey giving advice to an overworked young recruit there. The partner said that the firm would have no qualms sucking her dry if she let them. He advised her to establish a reputation as an effective worker and then set limits. She should work smart, not long and not apologise for it. Perhaps because Steve started in the leisure and fitness industry, he had already internalised the importance of health. He was hardworking, but refused to be overworked and made time to stay fit and strong.
- He got his hands dirty when needed and went above and beyond the call of duty.
Steve wouldn’t ask anybody to do something he wouldn’t do himself. If we were short-handed and there was a deadline, he would pitch in. I can always remember both of us cleaning the dirty office that we inherited when we took over the Christmas Island Recreation Centre (NOT to be confused with the Detention Centre there). This is especially important in a culture like Australia, where staff are quick to spot and then, of course, dislike elitism.