Recently, I have been reflecting on some of the great CEO's and other leaders I’ve had the great fortune of working with. After many years, working with many Chiefs and VP's, there are really only a handful I would put in the category of great leaders.
So what makes a great leader and how does one earn the trust and confidence of their teams? I believe it comes down to possessing a few key qualities.
The first and foremost is integrity; the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Any leader without integrity will create an unhappy team dynamic in addition to steering their team away from success.
Drilling down a bit further, all of the following qualities also come into play:
- Great communication skills and the ability to inspire and motivate at every level in the business
- Strong rationale for their decision making and clarity in the mission and vision
- A real understanding on how to create corporate growth and market growth through a clear, integrated, measureable plan. This sounds easy but it takes a village to get onboard and a great leader to know how to integrate a plan at every level.
- Being a driver while also being respectful and genuinely grateful to the team, versus leading by fear.
- Raising teams work and building individuals up versus tearing them down
- Having an open door policy
- Speaking to and knowing all team members and their roles
- Being a great sales person and understanding how to inspire, and position the company to analysts and investors
- Trust in the team
- Solid reporting on how the company is doing based on the business objectives set forth. Instead of finger pointing, creating a report on where the company can improve and a plan as to how.
- A strong understanding of technology and how critical this is between departments for success. I have seen some real irresponsibility in leadership on how to implement this...
- And one of the biggest ones: ZERO micromanaging - this is a killer at companies and I’ve seen some horrific examples of this. It’s a waste of time, professional resources and jeopardizes the success of a company. From what I have experienced, this typically comes from the top down and is the antithesis of good leadership.
- If the goals and processes are clarified and the team trained, the team should understand how to make decisions for a positive outcome. If the outcome is bad, one needs to go back to the processes, adjust and re-train as appropriate to get the desired outcome while also freeing up everyone from the crazy cycle and cost of micromanaging.
Unfortunately, it can feel like we get stuck under bad leadership sometimes and that’s just the harsh reality we must face. All we can try to do is challenge ourselves to uphold these principals in our own lives, be the change we wish to see and lead by example so we can empower all the potential great leaders around us, or become one.
“I’ve reached out to the great leaders in my life recently to just share my appreciation for stepping up to the plate and making a difference for the vast number of people’s lives and companies they’ve benefited.” Charlene Moore, CMO & Co-Founder