Thursday, January 17, 2019

5 Traits Every Leader Should Have to Achieve Hero Leadership


Guest post from Jeffrey Hayzlett:

What’s leadership? What makes for an effective leader? The answers to both these questions are relative to every organization -- big or small. There is no one set of rules that makes for an effective leader, but leadership encompasses a slew of characteristics and different people embody different sets of traits. The fact of the matter is, some people become good leaders and others don’t.  

For me, a good leader isn’t someone who just tells others what to do. It’s not someone who wields power just because they are the boss. A good leader is someone who guides and mentors a team, who offers counsel, looks to foster a good working environment and creates a culture that’s sustainable.

Natural born leaders have the ability to motivate and communicate better than other members of the team. I believe these two traits are the two most critical because if you can’t motivate your team or can’t communicate your ideas, there won’t be anyone following you. Therefore, who exactly are you leading?

My latest book, “The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures” examines key pillars on how to become a better leader by creating a winning culture, achieving operational excellence – all without dismissing the power of profit. It was Henry Ford who said, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Making money and creating a winning culture is something every leader should strive for. Why not have the best of both worlds?

Here are 5 traits every successful leader should have:

1. Personality.
You have to show your employees that you have a personality – whether it’s humor or being charismatic, employees need to relate to you at some level. Above all, you must be genuine. That’s something that you shouldn’t have to fake – ever. I believe in being yourself, always! My attitude is about owning who I am and everything I do: Sell me, sell the company; sell the company, sell me. My style of leadership is fearless, bold and relentless. To me, that says, “I own who I am!” Don’t be afraid to own everything about your leadership – the good, the bad and the ugly.

2. Be persuasive.
Being persuasive doesn’t entirely mean getting people to do what you want. It means that as a leader, you are constantly aware of the differences that exist at every rung of the ladder – from your fellow executives, to other types of company leaders, to the admin team. The message you’re trying to convey must reach everyone without any room for misinterpretation. At every turn, you need to think about who your audience is. That’s what a good leader does. They communicate succinctly and effectively, leaving little to no wiggle room for miscommunication or misinterpretation. An effective communicator gets everyone to row in the same direction and therefore is the catalyst that moves the needle forward.

3. Honesty and trustworthy.
Honesty and trustworthiness are the pillars of any good leader (and human being). If your employees and colleagues can’t (or don’t) trust you, you have a huge problem. Not to mention, no one wants to do business with you. People will follow those who they trust, and they’ll appreciate your candor and openness. They may not like it, but they’ll appreciate it.
A good leader also gives credit to their team. Let them know they are appreciated, trusted, and that you have their backs generates a greater level of trust and loyalty; more so than any so-called leader who is constantly bragging about “their” accomplishments.

4. Good listener.
A great leader is constantly engaged with their peers can rally a group of followers much faster than one who hides in the corner office. If you fail that simple, yet somewhat overlooked, task you’re putting your business in danger. It’s as simple as that.

Listen to your employees as they’re typically most aware of the issues taking place within your company and also your first line of defense. Listen to your consumers as they may have sound advice on how to improve your product or service. Creating that level of trust and keeping the lines of communications open are what’s needed to achieve a winning culture, which leads to operational excellence.

5. Risk-taker.
Taking risks is part of being in business. And for most of us, no one will die if we take a risk and make a mistake.

Everyone in my company has heard me say “no one will die” in numerous occasions. Most of us aren’t leading a team of surgeons and no one is going to die from taking a risk in business. Lose some money? Maybe. One thing’s for sure, you won’t get anywhere without taking a risk or two.

Taking risks isn’t about being irresponsible, reckless or careless. It’s about constantly taking the temperature of your business to make sure it still has a pulse. It’s about taking risks that align with the changing times and your company’s values. You will make mistakes, that’s part of life. However, if as a leader you’re not willing to take any risks, you can’t expect your employees to take them for you. If you take risks, they’ll try to emulate that and help move the company forward. You set the tone.

Good leaders, lead. They think big, they come up with great ideas, they fail, they counsel, mentor, and are part of the team. If you think being a leader is finally making it into the c-suite or the corner office, you have the wrong perception of what being a leader is all about. Sure, the corner office and the c-suite look good on a resume and might impress a few of your friends, but the fact remains that you spend more time at the office with your team, than you do with your own family. It might be best to have your team on your corner, rather than fighting you at every turn.


Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV, and business podcast host of All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio. He is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman and CEO of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders. Hayzlett is a well-traveled public speaker, former Fortune 100 CMO, and author of four best-selling business books: Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless, Running the Gauntlet, The Mirror Test and The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures. Hayzlett is one of the most compelling figures in business today and an inductee into the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame.

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