“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams
Notice that this quote involves action. Speaking great words may make you a poet, a master orator, or a visionary. Applying decisive actions in support of those great words will make you a respected leader!
This post continues my Letters of the Alphabet Leadership series. You can read the 12 Most Exemplary “E” Embodiments of Excellent Leaders to catch up. Meanwhile, see if you agree with my 12 Most Fantastic “F” Facets Great Leaders Flourish…
I enjoy so many of the synonyms for facile: accomplished, adroit, agile, brilliant, gifted… and the list goes on. Follow a facile leader, and success is assured!
One of the quickest ways for leaders to lose their credibility is for them to develop a reputation for playing favorites. Leaders have to provide fair opportunities for everyone. They must also preside as fair judges for disputes between individuals or organizations.
OK, I chose this adjective for one of 12Most’s Managing Partners: Peggy Fitzpatrick. Great leaders are equally fantastic and fabulous, and really special ones may even get quoted on one of her Fabulous Friday posts.
Great leaders embrace the small successes and shrug off the minor failures with a farsighted view on long-term company success. They do not “sweat the small stuff.”
James Russell Lowell said “Fate loves the fearless.” Leaders may experience fear because their higher profile will amplify their failures. Or, they recognize their awesome responsibility for their employees’ continued employment. The great leaders acknowledge the fear, and then move past it with decisive actions.
When you are an upstart company, you sometimes need a feisty leader that’s willing to obliterate the odds. They make the gutsy calls. They have the scrappy personality to absorb failures, dust themselves off, and then assail the competition again! This type of personality is both inspirational and contagious.
I’m throwing a curve here, but I want the flawed leader. I want the leader who has experienced loss and failure — and has the battle scars to prove it. Josh Billings stated, “Success does not consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one a second time.” I want the leaders who already made a few blunders and learned from their mistakes. Their body of work should include recoveries from failures. A flawed leader is also more likely to be empathetic when employees experience failures.
Did you know that steel is more widely used than iron because its flexibility makes it more resistant to both shock and tension while still being more durable and capable of “holding an edge?” Isn’t that a good description for a great leader — someone who can withstand shock and tension, and be more durable while maintaining a competitive edge?
In the case of #4 — Farsighted, I mentioned that great leaders maintain a long-term view and do not sweat the small stuff. However, leaders who only focus on the long-term goals are dreamers. Larry Elder provided one of my favorite quotes: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Leaders do not get bogged down by small obstacles; instead, they focus on making minor adjustments to their plans to guarantee long-term success.
The Roman poet Ausonius said “Forgive many things in others; nothing in yourself.” I think this describes the pinnacle of accountability for a great leader. Employees learn it is OK to make mistakes while observing their leaders holding themselves accountable for their own mistakes. We need to understand that forgiving does not require forgetting. In fact, I like John F. Kennedy’s perspective: “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” Leaders should take this to heart because the people they forgive may become repeat offenders that require additional instruction or discipline.
To be frank is to be completely honest. I picture employee performance reviews in this case. If employees produce sub-par results and their performance reviews do not reflect these results, then leaders have done their employees a disservice. Either the employees’ compensation will not correlate to the non-confrontational performance review — because we do not overpay for mediocrity — or the employees will be blindsided by a layoff during tough times because they are at the bottom of the “stack rank.” Not only will they have no prior knowledge of their poor ranking, but they may also have bad work habits they carry to their next job because their leaders did not have the frankness to critique their work.
As Tim Duncan’s NBA career flourished, he developed the nickname “The Big Fundamental.” He did nothing flashy, but every shot… move… decision… was fundamentally correct. Those fundamentals carried his San Antonio Spurs to four NBA championships and Duncan personally won three NBA Finals MVP awards. We all want our leaders to be our MVPs who lean on their extraordinary fundamentals to carry our teams to championship-level success. If they have the traits described in this post, then they have the fundamentals to help us win the game.
Which Fantastic “F” Facet do you want associated with your name? Which one do you treasure and respect the most?
Meanwhile, here are the 12 Most adjectives guaranteed to result in an “F” grade for a leader: facetious, factious, fair-weather, fainthearted, fake, feeble, flatulent, fractious, frail, frustrating, fumbling, and furious.
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