- Awareness – leaders must open the doors of perception and see what’s inside. This can be a disturbing thought. But it’s to provide reality and see things in perspective.
- Commitment to developing people – leaders help others become good leaders.
- Empathy – leaders not only identify with others, but accept what others contribute. It requires a tolerance of imperfection.
- Foresight – Being able to sense the unknowable and unforeseeable future gives leaders their “mojo”. As a leader, we must use good decision making skills and remember that a lack of decision making can be perceived as an ethical failure.
- Listening – leaders naturally respond to a problem by listening first. True listening builds strength in others.
- Persuasion – Whether it happens one person at a time or one action at a time, leaders are willing to use their talents and demand little from others. Even if it means standing aside and serving when asked.
Leaders build high performance teams by ensuring their teams are strong in each of these six areas.
Establish Vision – Leadership always begins with clarity on where you want to go. Leaders make sure their team understands what they want to achieve, how they’re going to accomplish it and what they want to become.
Create Core Values – Values are the beliefs that drive behavior. They establish the norms of behavior for the team, how to approach the work, how to think about customers, what behaviors will be rewarded and which ones will not be tolerated.
Provide Resources – Once when I was promoted to lead an already strong team, a senior member of the team privately told me, “What we need you to do for us is get the resources. We’ll do the rest.” It was a great reminder of one of the most important roles of a team leader.
Establish Boundaries – What’s “in bounds” and what is not? Team members need clarity on which decisions the leader wants or needs to be involved in and which decisions should be handled independently by the team. This should not be a mystery!
Provide Education – Leaders know skills turn aspiration into accomplishment. Leaders need to help the team assess what skill gaps exist and ensure the team gets the training and education needed to close those gaps.
Provide Encouragement – Because of the position we occupy, our words carry more weight than those who aren’t in positions of leadership. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, is known for asking the question: “How can you tell if someone needs encouragement?” His answer, “If they’re breathing!”