Leaders are products of honed, cultivated skill sets. Leaders are never "born" leaders. Their leadership talent is applied knowledge on how to motivate others.
Being a leader is the most correlated factor for achieving success in a corporate or entrepreneurial environment. Learning how to develop leadership talent is an art form that must be practiced but is totally achievable.
I recommend that leaders-in-training and even seasoned leaders remember the acronym, “Rise and Gro” and practice what the seven tenets of "Rise and Gro" stand for:
1. RISK TAKING:
Entrepreneurs and startup founders are risk takers. They often leave the security of a dependable paycheck in order to implement a vision. People who work in corporate settings also have to take risks. Judy Pierson, a good friend, told me once that the most helpful advice she ever received came from a comment I made to her while we were flying together from Colorado to New York. She said I had pointed out that you’re probably not doing enough if you are not experiencing having your stomach hurt from anxiety and fear.
Leaders teach and leaders learn from others. Leaders "Are one of the people who show the other people how". Rather than protect knowledge and skills they share the “know-how.”
Leaders also know how to learn and apply useful attributes of others. I learned from George Odiorne, a great lecturer, to shake the hand of every audience member before speaking to them. George explained this tip enabled him to have a conversation with each and every member of the audience rather than giving a speech to them.
3. SIMPLE SLOGANS:
People like to understand what you mean and what you are about through a simple, memorable phrase. My slogan for my clients is that "Client service is a religion."
Leaders lead by example. They come in earlier and leave later, and in doing so, they set an example. Leaders dress every day as if they have a boardroom presentation -- this also sets an example. Leaders express positivity and avoid negativity as a behavioral premise.
5. GOOD JUDGMENT:
Good judgment is a leadership criterion. Good judgment is obtained by gaining all the facts, getting all points of view, comparing the current matter to other past experiences and formulating an action plan and implementing it. A worthwhile hobby is to read biographies of leaders so you can see how they evolved good judgment and then practiced their techniques. Learning how John Kennedy managed the Cuban Missile Crisis taught me to ask my team to frequently meet around my square table to discuss what to do about a problem.
I once attended a meeting at a major accountancy firm. One of the office heads asked the CEO of the firm what attribute he valued the most in his leadership team. His answer was “reliability.” At the time I heard him say this, it seemed to me to be a rather lame response. As the years have gone by, this leadership trait, is, I now realize, rare and incredibly significant. Reliability is extraordinary.
Great leaders have the remarkable capacity to remove from their modus operandi their own ego. Followers can literally "smell" if their leader is thinking about herself or the matter at hand.
Leaders leave their egos outside of the room. Their purpose is to work toward the best outcome for everyone. Maslow called this capability of being other-oriented "self- actualization." Becoming self-actualized is making the premise of your being about others rather than yourself.
The acrostic “Rise and Gro” stands for seven critically important leadership skills that everyone can hone, refine and practice. The skills are: Risk Taking; Instruction; Simple Slogans; Example; Good Judgment; Reliability and Other-Oriented. “Rise and Gro” has to be absorbed, discussed, measured and applied. Use of these skills will allow great leadership.
Dr. Pamela J. Newman is an international insurance broker specializing in Fortune 500 clients worldwide. She is President and CEO of The Newman Team at Aon PLC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of NY and is a past President of the Financial Women’s Association. She is on the Board of Directors of the Brain Trauma Foundation, the New York Citizens Budget Commission and PCI Media Impact.
Besides writing Organizational Communication (McGraw Hill) and Behind Closed Doors; A Guide to Effective Meetings (Prentice Hall), Newman authors a book each year to give to clients of The Newman Team at Aon. She earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from The University of Michigan.
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