Streetwise — Leadership

November 15, 2019

From our friends at Eure Consulting:

This is the seventeenth installment in our 25 week series exploring the 25 competencies, or soft skills, that our assessments measure. Each week we’ll give you the definition of that competency, explain its value, and give you tips to help you develop it. This week: Leadership.

There are a million different definitions of what it means to be a leader. For our purposes, we define Leadership as organizing and influencing people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction. Leaders can work at any level of an organization, regardless of their title or official level of authority.

Leadership is not just about being in charge of a company or a group within a company. It’s more about being able to align a group of people toward a common goal, motivate them and earn their respect. As I’ve mentioned many times in this blog series, people follow only those they trust. Whether or not you have a title matters less than whether people trust you enough to follow you. Imagine if everyone at your company had a leadership mindset. How much more productive would your organization be?

Great leaders are authentic and trustworthy. They show up every day as who they really are and they interact with others in a straightforward way. Great leaders make clear what they stand for and do not play politics or try to manipulate others into doing what they want them to. Successful leaders know it is important to stand up for what they believe and to be direct and candid about what that is. Their convictions may often force them to make tough decisions — decisions that will not please everyone — but they know that in the end this will be worth it — that it will be something to be proud of. And thanks to their honesty and openness, others will be happy to follow them and join their cause. They’ll know it is worthwhile because the leader truly believes in it.

If you’d like to improve your Leadership skills, you can start by reflecting on your own personal core values. What are the things on which you are not willing to compromise? What values do you want to be known for? What issues are you willing to fight for? By taking the time for self-reflection you can better prepare yourself to show up authentically. You get to define what kind of leader you are, but you have to make the effort and take the time to do it.