“What team members look for in you and your leadership”

At a recent leadership event a senior executive was asked to share about her experience with the organization. At first she said all the right things which is exactly what the people didn’t want to hear. Then she shocked the room by expressing dissatisfaction with her lack of leadership.

She went on to say that even though she knew people were unhappy with the organization’s protocols, leadership style and approach, she regretted not doing anything about it. She concluded by talking about “courageous leadership” and why the workplace demands it now more than ever.

To lead effectively you must understand that your team is looking for at least three things from your leadership:

First is COMPETENCE, the personal and professional skills that qualifies you to give leadership—you have experienced what you’re talking about. They want you to be an inspirational leader, not a “motivator” constantly using sticks and carrots as motivational tools. To be an effective communicator and know how to develop quality relationships and build competent teams.

Second, be a VISIONARY, the ability to create the future, whether its this afternoon, tomorrow or five years out. Team members want to know you know where you are going and how to get there. No one wants to follow an unchartered course behind a hesitant leader, or one lacking confidence.

Third, TRUSTWORTHINESS, this is the crown jewel of personal ethics. Regardless of talent, ability or education, if you lack a moral compass and your word is unreliable you forfeit the right to lead. Never promise what you can’t deliver, even if it means you lose your position.

When team members see these qualities in you they work harder, contribute better ideas with greater energy and they stay with you longer.

When they don’t see these positive leadership qualities their energy and engagement levels drop, their performance and spirit of excellence deteriorates and their loyalty diminishes. They’re probably already looking for somewhere else to serve.

You are either a leader everyone wants to follow, or one everyone wants to avoid. Ask yourself, “Why would people want to follow me?” Make a list of your leadership strengths and weaknesses (only mature leaders do this) then maximize your strengths and build a team to manage your weaknesses.

Moral: don’t spend too much time pulling the weeds (weaknesses) in your leadership garden, just keep planting more flowers (strengths) and eventually the flowers overtake the weeds.

“Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.” Deuteronomy 1:13