Ask yourself, “What type of leader would I choose to follow?” When you think of a person in a position of high authority, what qualities come to mind? Do you imagine bombastic words, unsubstantiated claims, or shameless self-promotion benefiting off the work of others?
Too often society seems obsessed with the outrageous and absurd personalities who try to pass themselves off as leaders, when instead they are simply sowing discord.
A leader is a person who brings people together around a common purpose and provides an environment within which they can be successful. Throughout history, there have been leaders who were revered rather than feared. These people shared some common qualities that helped them rise above the crowd. They earned lasting acclaim and deep appreciation by demonstrating those qualities in abundance.
Communicating Compassion for Others
A true leader is not defined by their propensity to place blame. Real leaders demonstrate inordinate quantities of compassion, even in the face of opposition and when times are challenging.
Compassion is demonstrated most effectively when the right thing to do is not the popular course of action. In such cases, a true leader can be observed leaning into personal discomfort while demonstrating compassion for others’ challenges and suffering.
Compassion is also found when leaders single out team members for praise and recognition, especially team members who have set an example by acting selflessly. Compassion means raising others up to a place of inclusion, as opposed to stoking the fears and unfounded rumors that cultivate division.
Holding Oneself Accountable
Leaders are highly accountable people, both to themselves and those they serve. When you assume a leadership role, you should strive to ensure your every action and response takes place within an established code of behavior and ethics.
Those you lead will listen to what you say and pay attention to how you say it. They’ll observe what you do and how you do it. These words and actions exist as personal statements of your accountability. True leaders view ethics and commitments as an extension of their word, seldom willing to compromise, despite challenging situations.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”— C. S. Lewis, writer and theologian
Expressing Genuine Humility
Great leaders commonly use the pronouns “we,” “us,” and “our” when describing accomplishments, rather than “me,” “my,” and “I.” In the use of those inclusive words, there exists an underpinning of humility. They demonstrate an understanding that success results when a team pulls together, rather than via the force of a single person.
As a leader, you’re undoubtedly a force for change, driving the vision of your organization. But, a successful leader understands that such momentum is far more sustainable when the idea is “ours” rather than “mine.” Humility is actually a sign of great confidence. You can accomplish much more when you empower your team members.
Creating Loyalty Through Authenticity
Embrace the task of earning your team’s trust during every interaction. Understand that your team is always watching, and there’s never a time when they aren’t measuring their current observations of you against past perceptions. Remember that trust in leadership can be dissolved far faster than it can be built.
There’s a common thread running through each of the three traits described above. Each carries an implication of service and support to others. When combined, compassion, accountability, and humility form a pattern of authenticity that becomes the basis for building your team’s loyalty and trust.
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Tim, with his extensive background in education and management, is a great part of our Fired Up! team dedicated to inspiring teams and leaders. At Fired Up!, our work is dedicated to harnessing the power of culture to equip leaders, build amazing teams, and align operation practices to engage organizations and drive breakthrough results.