In my first leadership position (early 90’s), I focused on working hard, being an example to my staff and following the leadership style of my superiors. I didn’t read books to learn how to be a better leader. We didn’t have Webinars back then. Mistakes were made. I remember responding when asked how we were going to fix the high claims turnaround time saying, “We’ll work harder.” Not the right answer. What we really needed to do was identify the issue for the high volume of claim re-submissions to reduce or eliminate the problem. Involving the team would have been the correct decision. My inexperience showed!
We now have a plethora of books, videos, speakers and executive coaches to help mold us into becoming a better leader. It can become mind boggling to distill all of that into a few critical principles to follow. Whether you are an HR professional hiring a leader in your organization, a CEO grooming a leader or an employee looking to become a leader, we can all benefit from learning what makes a good leader tick.
As an executive recruiter I’ve interviewed hundreds of executives over an 18-year period for different positions from Director to CEO. This is what I’ve found:
Six Ways to Become an Extraordinary Leader:
- – Have a vision for the organization that they communicate clearly to their team.
- – Have the drive to execute the vision.
- – Exhibit personal qualities which encourage the team to follow enthusiastically. In the book “Discover Your Inner Strength, Cutting Edge Growth Strategies from the Industry’s Leading Experts” Ken Blanchard was interviewed. His father once said to him, “Great leaders are followed not because they have power…but because they are respected.”
- – Listen and ask the right questions. This will lead to continual performance improvement of the individuals and the organization.
- – Promote risk taking or discovery. This will result in innovation
- – Share stories of great work and appreciate the team in public (promoting their successes).
Accepting a new behavior and integrating it into our lives often means we have to change something we are currently doing. As we all know, we are always in favor of change when it involves someone else, not necessarily ourselves. Look in the mirror. Humility will allow us to be molded into the type of leader we want to be. We can breathe new life into an organization because an extraordinary leader will create an extraordinary organization!
Rosie Saenz is a Principal & Executive Search Consultant at Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.