Mark Richardson, CR
Are you a great leader? If I ask several of your key team members will they confirm the business has great leadership? Do you believe great leaders are born or made? What does it mean to be a great leader anyway?
Having been in this industry over three decades, I’ve experienced “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in some great leaders. Some of the great ones were not great, or even that good, early in their careers. While most of the great ones have some gray hair, age is not a requirement to touch greatness.
The great ones do stand out, are recognizable, and generally have created successful businesses. I will not list my top 10 of remodeling leaders—you can call me if you are curious about my top remodeling leaders—but I will give you some of the attributes that are common denominators of leadership greatness.
They are visionaries
The great leaders not only think ahead, they look far into the future. They spend real time and energy reflecting further out than others around them. This futuristic view may not be actionable, but they use this vision as a filter for today and tomorrow’s important decisions.
They have a calling
The great leaders don’t just follow up pack, they have a calling. This calling may be directed to an important philanthropic cause like the environment or helping others or their calling may be focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. This calling goes deeper than just making a profit or building nice projects. The great ones always find a way to weave these priorities into their insights and messaging.
They are truly empathetic
Empathy is often misunderstood or even a little shallow. All leaders show some empathy. But is it really authentic and genuine? True empathy comes from the heart and not the mind. This level of empathy is silent but seen by all. Great leaders use these qualities to communicate right and wrong as well as to make the best decisions.
They are passionate
Passion is the fuel for the fire. A great leader’s passion is contagious. This passion attracts people to follow them and to reach places that individuals would otherwise not go. This passion is not reckless. It is very laser-focused and controlled. It is passion that pushes a team to score when they are on the two-yard line.
The great ones are balanced
Great leaders have a high level of balance in their life. They work hard but also put their personal and spiritual lives in balance with the business. They may not have all the clarity in the other pieces of their lives that make them who they are, but they have a high-level thirst to find answers and the proper balance.
The great leaders communicate
The great leaders own their communication and find a way to make others understand. Great communication is a skill not a gift. Great communicators understand it is their obligation to communicate, not the other’s responsibility to understand. This communication acumen needs to be either one-on-one or one-to-many. It needs to be both high tech and high touch. They understand idea and beliefs are not meaningful unless they are understood.
The great ones are students of greatness
While greatness may be defined in many different ways, the great ones are students of success. They understand learning is a verb. They have not only the desire to improve, but a high level of skill to discriminate their learning and knowledge gathering. The great ones learn from the most common situations. They process these simple listening/learning situations into more complex insights and answers. This process not only makes them a great leader, but it also impacts those they touch in the business as well.
Many reading this column may see it as a checklist or use it to gauge how you as a leader measure up to other leaders.
Others may be thinking about those leaders in their lives that may fit these greatness criteria.
Regardless of how you are processing this, now more than ever it is important that you realize people join companies and organizations because of great leaders, and they also leave because of weak leaders.
I challenge you to make yourself a great leader. If you make this a priority, I can assure you great things will happen with you personally and professionally. PR
Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business,” as well as his latest book, “Fit to Grow.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.