Special thanks to my friend, Frank Sonnenberg, for this guest post. His beliefs about leadership fully align with my beliefs and my work, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to him. ~Lisa Petrilli
Superior leaders achieve success by setting the bar high, encouraging teamwork, promoting win-win relationships, and demanding everyone’s best effort. Superior leaders win the support of their constituents by earning their trust and respect. This is achieved through powerful ideas, personal expertise, and impeccable integrity rather than through their position or by “pulling rank.” In sum, superior leaders hire great people, train them well, inspire them, and then get out of their way.
- Vision. Superior leaders are visionaries with a “can-do” attitude. They take on the impossible, while their timid colleagues look for the exits. In the process, great leaders confront issues and obstacles head-on and make decisions that position their organizations successfully for the future. This means that their decisions won’t always be popular, but they will be considered deliberate and fair; short-term results won’t always be stellar, but long-term investments will secure a brighter future. These leaders won’t always be loved, but they will be trusted and respected.
- Conviction. Superior leaders have a backbone. They make every effort to gather information, weigh alternatives, secure buy-in from their constituents, and determine the best course of action. Great leaders focus precious resources in areas that provide the greatest opportunity rather than trying to please everyone or making arbitrary, across-the-board decisions.
- Humility. Superior leaders do what’s right — period. Real leaders recognize that their stance represents something much larger than the whim of any one individual –– as such, they put their egos and self-interests on hold. Great leaders do what’s in the organization’s best interest rather than trying to win a popularity contest, playing politics, or advancing their own private agenda.
- Integrity. Superior leaders operate with integrity at all times; they are passionate about protecting their personal integrity and the reputation of their organization. They understand that trust takes a long time to develop, but can be lost in the blink of an eye. Great leaders know that instilling a strong culture and promoting ethical core values are instrumental for success. In fact, in today’s turbulent times, everything is subject to change except an organization’s core values.
- Credibility. Superior leaders maintain a balance between short-term performance and building a better future. Great leaders know that short-term wins enable leaders to build trust, instill confidence, and maintain momentum. This provides them with enough credibility to make strategic investments and tackle the long-term challenges that ensure success. Real leaders understand the importance of motivating others to accept personal sacrifice to benefit others.
The bottom line is that great leaders win the support of their constituents by earning their trust and respect. Superior leaders achieve success by setting high standards, remaining true to their beliefs and values, and listening to their conscience. They never stop trying until they do themselves proud. Great leaders encourage teamwork, promote win-win relationships, and demand everyone’s best effort. The truth is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, rich or poor, work on the top floor or in the basement, everyone earns trust and respect the same way. You can’t require it or demand it. You can’t cut deals or take shortcuts. You can’t buy it or even place a price tag on it. And that’s because earning trust and respect is priceless. Superior leaders do it every day!
This is adapted from Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life & in the Lives of Others By Frank Sonnenberg © 2014 Frank Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.