Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Seven Cornerstones of Leadership

We hear so much these days about leadership, especially when things go wrong. The faults of so-called leaders are really highlighted when they are found wanting be they corporate executives, presidents, spiritual leaders, coaches, or parents. What qualities do true leaders posses?
Following exhaustive study from the best M.BA Business Schools they are:
1. Clarity of Vision
Leaders are all future oriented thinkers. They ask, ‘what would my organization look like 5 years from today’? Once they have this clarity in detail, they boldly act so as to go where they have never gone before.
2. Courage
Leaders roll up their sleeves and dive in. It’s one thing to have a set of objectives, another to have the courage to execute - hence the term ‘executive’. Leaders have the same fears and doubts as anyone else. The difference is that their courage is so powerful that it easily extinguishes the negative voices within. They take action.
3. Integrity
Integrity is the indispensable quality of leadership. Leaders deliver on their promises. 24 /7. Yet some people in positions of leadership operate as if their integrity is situational. In other words, they act honestly depending on the situation at hand. No, no. Integrity is like being pregnant. Either you are or you are not. This is especially the case in business, whereby goods and services are primarily bought not so much on what they can deliver, but on truth and honesty from the part of those doing the delivering.
4. Responsibility
True leaders never complain about how things turn out. You will never hear them make excuses. U.S. president Harry S. Truman had a sign with this inscription on his desk – ‘the buck stops here’. This was meant to indicate that he didn't 'pass the buck' to anyone else but accepted personal responsibility for the way the country was governed.
5. Commitment
True leaders are fully committed to the tasks required to succeed. You will find that they are passionate about the results they aim at. They never attempt anything that their heart isn't into. Passion is the fuel that allows leaders to push forward, up, over, and around any obstacles along the way.
6. Focus
Leaders concentrate their energies, strengths and skills that make the greatest positive difference to the situation at hand. They are very mindful of that most valuable of resources, time, and as such set clear priorities on the best use of it. They are aware of their many weaknesses, which they delegate, and hone in on a handful of strengths that bring the greatest value to the organization.
7. Excellence
Good enough is never near enough for leaders. They are very meticulous about detail, as they have a philosophy where everything matters. Everything. Achieving excellence is not that difficult, since the majority settle at mediocrity. Thus leaders always go that extra mile. They also know that in order to get extraordinary performance form their people, they themselves must be extraordinary. There is no other way to do this than to stand out from the pack through an excellence mentality.If you lack even one of the qualities listed, then you have yet to reach leadership status. Here’s the good news. Leaders are never born. They are made. The only way to acquire any one of these 7 pillars for leadership is to begin to practice it. In time, you will become a true leader.


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