Spurred on by the endless cavalcade of inept leaders that have lately poured onto the scene, I created a recent blog entry titled Characteristics of Ineffective Leaders. In it I highlighted the following common blunders and miscues:
- Fear Mongering
- Snap Judgments
- Unclear or Deceptive Messages
- Covering Up Incompetence
- Arrogance and Grandstanding
- Excessive Greed
- Bringing Out The Worst In People
- Inconsistency and Unpredictability
- Mistaking Power For Leadership
- "I Am The Boss"
Sometimes it is easier to find fault and fix blame than to offer constructive alternatives. So in the spirit of the latter, I present my take on the characteristics of effective leaders. Much has been written on the subject (as a quick Google search will reveal). I have chosen to frame my version as a "CEO Want Ad," since this is the person I think every company is searching for.
TITLE: Chief Executive Officer
LOCATION: Everywhere, USA
INDUSTRY: You name it
EDUCATION: College nice but not required.
EXPERIENCE: Less important than instincts and empathy
TRAVEL: Constant (no office provided)
We are looking for a leader who believes that each individual represents a unique combination of talent and potential, and who recognizes it as their responsibility and obligation to maximize the abilities of others. We are not interested in a typical charismatic leader who holds all the power and feels compelled to define the entire vision and direction of the Company. The successful candidate will allow others to hold power and will encourage them to stand as strong pillars of leadership in their own right to support the entire enterprise.
- Serves as a coach to instruct, motivate, reward and discipline others so that they might attain their highest personal potential and thereby maximize their contribution to the team.
- Strives to release creativity and manifests confidence in a positive outcome.
- Understands that financial profits accrue to the benefit of all by allowing both the individual and the Company to thrive.
- Recognizes that financial losses represent a personal failure to extract the best from the team.
- Provides each individual with the opportunity to maximize their potential skills.
- Believes that employment is a cooperative working arrangement that must never destroy the individual’s ability to excel in both maturity and experience.
- Assumes that each individual possesses rights of self direction which only the individual can voluntarily delegate to others in authority over her/him and that this is done in the interest of achieving some mutual and cooperative goal.
- Understands the sacred trust inherent in delegated authority and uses it to advance the common good rather than to achieve selfish ambitions.
- Assumes that the voluntary associations with others is for the purpose of increasing the creativity and productivity of all members of the group as well as those who purchase the company's goods or services.
- Provides an environment which makes it possible for everyone to achieve the dual objective of ever increasing productivity and maximizing self-development.
- Sets high quality standards and welcomes stiff competition as a personal challenge and a challenge to the abilities of the team.
- Realizes that people may not always enjoy working for (or with) her/him because of the strains associated with high performance, but understands where, when and how to ease up before people reach their breaking point.
- Understands that attracting top talent is the true key to success, and is tireless in this search.
- Understands that they work for the employees, not the other way around, and tirelessly demonstrate this by seeking ways to assist others.
- Resists the temptation to use power and authority as an excuse to act badly toward others.
- Is pursuing a purpose far greater than achieving personal wealth and not only communiates that purpose but acts in accordance with it.
- Has an ego that is healthy enough to allow others to succeed.
- Is impatient and unforgiving when it comes to those with shoddy values, selfish ambitions, or who lack inner drive.
- Is willing to prune expeditiously when necessary to perpetuate the integrity of the team and to maintain high standards.
- Advocates and practices decentralization and readily delegates authority.
- Uses mistakes as lessons and teaching opportunities, and while they are not welcomed, they are embraced.
- Considers mistakes made by others to be, in some measure, the CEO's own mistakes.
- Encourages people to speak well of each other, respect each other, and embrace their collective success.
- Develops clear measures that hold everyone accountable to a common goal.
- Suppresses emotion and snap decisions; deliberates calmly, gathers all relevant information, integrates the best ideas from others, and makes decisions that are consistent with mutually understood longer-range goals.
- Understands her/his fallibility and readily and humbly admits mistakes and seeks advice and solutions through the wise counsel of others.
- Creates a sense of special significance about the company which is shared by all.
- Inspires that small but significant extra effort that is often the difference between success and failure.
CHARACTERISTICS, COMPETENCIES AND SKILL SETS:
- Unshakeable integrity and ethics
- Confident enough with own abilities to let others succeed
- Not afraid to hire people smarter and/or more experienced than themselves and willing to listen to them
- Generous to a fault
- Voracious learner
- Higher EQ than IQ
That's up to you. We will hold you to the same standard you set for others. The better you do the more you make. No promises. But if you screw it up, don't expect any golden parachutes. If that is not okay, go work somewhere else.