What Behaviors Make a Leader?

In order to lead effectively, communication and connection are essential leadership behaviors that must be developed from the onset.  Collaborative leadership skills are demanding more focus, as global business becomes more prevalent.  One of the first behaviors that managers, and those in senior leadership positions, must develop is the ability to network and to share best practices with peers.  There is a teaching function that can be fulfilled when meetings occur between peers and their leader, as well as in individual meetings with peers.  The competitive notion that has been encouraged as a way to achieve results no longer has the power it once did.  In fact, Strategic Partnerships can be intentionally developed that will overcome the barriers of communication which will foster greater collaboration.

Perhaps you are involved in sales and marketing, and have been part of the reward system that focuses on individual achievement. It’s likely you have been involved in meetings during the first quarter of this year that have been delving into how to improve sales figures and to improve the market share and profile of your organization.

21st century leaders are placing more emphasis on their teams, with increased focus on communication, connection and relationships, leading to greater collaboration with peers.  As each leader takes time to intentionally connect on a weekly basis with their team members, as well as to set up less frequent meetings with peers, there is a noticeable shift in the culture, which opens leaders to more effective communication and more effective teamwork.

Accountability is essential.  Leaders often stress accountability to their direct report teams and sometimes model blaming rather than solutions.  It’s important to remember that accountability and communication are intrinsically related.

When a project or an agreement is not working, or not moving forward, communication should become a priority so solutions can be found.  If the problem is not addressed, and kept a secret, than the advantage of more ideas and perspectives is lost.

Developing leaders, at any level in the organization, creates a forum for greater collaboration. When leaders experience communication and awareness of others it sets the stage for better results in any interactive situation, such as with customers and prospective clients.

Communication skills take practice and time to develop, but unfortunately are often neglected in leadership roles. Have you been in a meeting lately where the agenda gets lost and the conversation goes down the proverbial rabbit hole?  It is no wonder that many think of meetings as a waste of time. But if leaders and managers take the time to create regular, focused meetings with peers to discuss their ongoing projects, they give their team members the chance to share best practices and to receive input. When this happens without competition, in an environment of confidentiality and trust, solutions are found and collaboration is more likely to develop.

Commitment is another Leadership Development behavior that is essential.  Often problems are experienced and solutions are not found when one is not committed.  Commitment does not mean a lifetime sentence in any situation; it simply means that we are in at 100% right nowWilliam H. Murray, Scottish mountaineer and writer, says it well in a quote he wrote during a Himalayan Expedition:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.”

Recently I worked with a top leader who had much awareness about collaboration but was also caught up in the dysfunction of the business.

Our first task was to secure his leadership at this juncture so that what he proposed and created was effective.  In order to secure the leadership, his commitment now was essential, and that was where we put our focus.  He embraced commitment once he realized that although it did not have to be forever, it was necessary to get the job done.  With the commitment came new awareness and new communication skills. The results have been extraordinary, and things are moving forward, and his ideas are being implemented.

This week:
1.    Consider your commitment and if it is being diluted by concerns or dissatisfaction; look to see where you are holding back and commit.
2.    Create calendar time for communication and connection with leadership peers to know them better, and to give yourself partnership and collaborative experience.
3.    Begin a trusting relationship with a peer as an accountability partner for the agreements you make, for completion and results.

Do you have a leadership question, challenge, or success you would like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia