I love this quote in the January-February, 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review from a reader responding to an article on leadership that appeared several months earlier:
“Leadership is not something that is gained because of birth or tenure but rather something that is practiced in every moment of opportunity. It is truly 20% technique (tools, methods) and 80% actions (behaviors).” -J.C. Duarte, Director, Kaizen Institute of Singapore
The most effective leaders I know enjoy and invest time honing their skills and techniques through training and education, but mostly, they focus on getting their hands dirty on the front lines with their team members.
At Least 11 Behaviors of Full Contact Leaders:
Full Contact Leaders…
1. Provide constant positive and constructive performance feedback.
2. Always help their team members understand how their individual priorities connect to the organization’s priorities.
3. View every individual or group encounter as an opportunity to assess and coach.
4. Never waste an opportunity to let someone learn something by doing something, including failing.
5. Teach. Daily. Through questions and by example or exposure.
6. Learn. Daily. Through self-study, but mostly through experimentation and reflection.
7. Push people hard to hone their strengths.
8. Constantly remind people of the firm’s values and the behaviors necessary to support those values. They also model those behaviors!
9. Kick ass when otherwise talented people around them grow complacent.
10. Build the collective belief of teams that their efforts will be THE difference between good and great or failure and success.
11. Care less about the milestones and momentary successes and more about helping their team move forward on the journey.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
Leadership is indeed a full contact activity. There’s no book or course that will serve as a substitute for doing. Get up, get moving and mostly, get involved in exhibiting and living the behaviors described above.
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