I have identified over the years six fundamental pillars of effective leaders. Having strengths in less than six of these areas is commensurate to an airplane without fuel; one would appear to have the capacity and ability, but unfortunately they will never be able to get off the ground.
Shawn’s six “P”s to effective leadership:
1. Powerful message: Any message presented must be powerful and well thought out. Propelling a powerful message is the first identifier of a great leader, and results in gaining the attention and commitment of others early. The power of the message delivered by former New York Major Rudolph Giuliani before the United Nations following the September 11th attacks was enough to move and engage not only a nation, but the world.
2. Passionate: Having passion about your vision, approaching challenges with tenacity, speaking not solely from fact, but from sheer excitement and a hunger for achieving your vision is another sign of a true leader. Consider the passion of Martin Luther King when he gave his speech “I have a dream.”
3. Positive attitude: One of the most visible signs of a true leader, is someone who portrays a positive attitude, despite setbacks or otherwise unforeseen challenges. It is these individuals who others are drawn to when challenges appear overwhelming, or circumstances seem dire.
4. Pragmatic: Being pragmatic is one of the truly most important traits of an effective leader. Holding a vision but being able to explain and act upon the vision in a pragmatic manner, engages others. With pragmatism comes clarity and efficiency, an individual who can explain the value in their concepts and ideas, embracing others in the shear simplicity of the solution.
5. Patience: It is true, patience is a virtue, and the only means to become increasingly patient is to practice. The most effective business leaders that I have met (and those with the greatest commitment of their teams) have been those who take the time to engage with and listen to the ideas of their employees and others around them.
6. Persistence: Walt Disney went bankrupt several times before he finally built Disneyworld; After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM studio’s read “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” The greatest successes have been achieved by those who were persistent, believed in their vision, and never gave up.
Measure your performance in each of these areas, and the results will identify your effectiveness in leading others. The good news, each of these areas can be improved upon.
© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.