Becoming the Leader that You Always Longed For

Over my career I have had several managers; probably more than I either wish to admit to or would like to remember.  But I have had only a handful of leaders.  This post doesn’t get into the difference between the two, and if you care to know simply google, “manager vs. leader.”  You will thusly be presented with memes, lists, uncountable articles, and even the likely “Dilbert” reference.  This post is none of those but rather focuses in on becoming a leader.  Over the years I have compiled a list, both mentally and actually written of attributes of organizations I would like to work for and leaders I wanted to work for.  Recently, however, I have had a bit of a mindset shift and have decided to turn the “what kind of leader do I want to work for?” into, “what kind of leader should I be?”  The reasoning is that if I am going to work for a good leader, I need to be ready to be one as well.  While I don’t get into much detail (I might in later posts), I used this as a litmus test of whether or not I am moving in the right direction.  Maybe someone will find it helpful as well:

  1. Mentoring leader.  Would I want someone to become like me?  Do I want the people to work for me to interact, speak to one another, and have the same body language as I do?
  2. Conscientious leader.  Do I only allow interruptions when absolutely necessary?  Is it always me that does the interrupting?
  3. On-time leader.  Don Hall (for those of you who don’t know – he was my High School Band Director) approach – “if you are on time you are late.”  This applies to called meetings.  Am I setting an example here?
  4. Listening leader.  Do I speak over people or raise my voice to get attention, or do I allow them to finish in order to protect the relationship?
  5. Collaborative leader.  Do I always take the reins or do I allow the team to move forward together?  Even when I think it might not be the best direction?
  6. Connected leader.  Am I aware when something is not right and try to help work it through without being told?
  7. Fearless leader.  Am I willing to fight for those who work for me?  Do I go to bat for their futures ahead of mine?
  8. Leader who compliments.  Am I always looking for times to compliment?
  9. Leader who provides improvement concepts.  Do I always correct in private?  Do I have regular feedback sessions that are outside of the performance process which are open to all feedback?

Like I said, this isn’t a comprehensive list, but is sort of my “mirror.”  What is yours?

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