Throughout our careers as consultants, we’ve coached many leaders who’ve struggled to build followership with either bosses, direct reports, or peers who don’t have a high level of respect for their contributions to the organization as a leader. Some of the concerns or complaints regarding these leaders have included:
- Not appearing to work as hard or add as much value as other members of the team
- Lacking responsiveness in their communication
- Coming to work and not appearing to care about their appearance (clothing, hair, health concerns that are within their control)
- Being rude or displaying a lack of respect for others
- Failing to provide timely responses to requests for information
- Not showing a genuine concern for the success of direct reports or peers
- Only focusing on their area of influence
- Senior management not viewing this person as a fully contributing, credible leader
The following 10 suggestions will help make you the leader who people respect and are inspired to follow:
1. Integrity: This point is simple. If you lack integrity, you will not be trusted. People don’t follow leaders they don’t trust.
2. Vision: Role model leaders have a positive vision and attitude about life. People are inspired by being in the presence of leaders who believe that they, with the support of their team, have the ability to make tomorrow even better.
3. Passion: Great leaders deeply believe in what they’re doing and that their efforts will make a positive difference in the lives of others. What may be even more important about having strong vision and passion, is that it gives leaders the energy to overcome adversity and obstacles.
4. Humility: Role models believe they are blessed to be able to do what they do and are grateful for the people they live and work with. When you’re a humble leader, it’s much easier to do the following:
- Thank people for their contributions
- Admit when you’re wrong
- Be respectful – regardless of your social status or position in the company
5. Learning: A lot of the research states that role models are intelligent. Intelligence helps but I have worked with too many brilliant people who are terrible role models. We have found role models to be active learners who can quickly put to use what they have learned.
6. Decision Making: As a leader, the decisions you make not only impact you but the lives of others as well. General David Petraeus, the director of the CIA was considered a great leader and role model until it became public he was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, the co-author of Petreus’ biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.
7. Pride: Take pride in your appearance. How you look or how your work environment looks tells others you have pride in whom you are. If you don’t take pride in your appearance and the environments in which you operate, it’s harder for others who do take pride in whom they are to follow you.
8. Confidence: When you have vision, passion, integrity, humility and pride, it’s easy to be confident about your role as a leader.
9. Follow-Through: Do what you say you are going to do.
10. Win: Role models develop the good habits that allow them to consistently produce the desired results and achieve the stated goals.
Although this list may seem daunting, it’s important to note that every leader slips at some time. When they do slip, they are humble about it, admit their mistakes, and get re-focused on living the characteristics of a great role model.
Peter Barron Stark Companies is a nationally recognized management consulting company that specializes in employee engagement surveys, executive coaching, and leadership and employee training. For more information, please visit www.peterstark.com