Five characteristics of successful leaders/entrepreneurs

  • Showing up – Rosabeth quotes Woody Allen’s famous saying that 90% of success in life comes from just showing up, and I agree.  In the context of leaders and entrepreneurs that means getting started on things and being visible, and that includes when things are difficult/might not work.  In fact, not putting off the difficult things is what separates effective people from the rest.
  • Speaking up – we all know that great leaders make great speeches, and often those speeches come to define the period of leadership – think about Martin Luther King and you quickly think about his famous “I have a dream” speech.  It is still inspiring nearly 50 years later (if you haven’t heard it recently listen here – 9mins in is a good place to start).  More prosaically CEOs and founders are most effective when they are vocal within their companies shaping the debate and articulating the conclusions at team meetings.  I recently asked a former employee of successful UK SEO/SEM agency The Search Works why the company had prevailed over its competitors and his answer was that Nick Hynes, the CEO, had a special talent for articulating the vision and direction of the business and getting everyone at the company believing and pulling in the same direction.  Think about that for a moment.
  • Teaming up – great companies aren’t built by individuals, they are built by teams.  Usually that is a team of co-founders and in just about every case there is a team of executives who have real power and operate as a team.  Delegation is a pre-requisite for success.
  • Looking up – I’m going to quote directly from Rosabeth’s post here, as she nails it “Looking up: the power of values. Higher principles help people transcend the conflicts and concerns of the moment. Standing for something larger than mere self-interest gives leaders moral grounding and provides a basis for inspiring and motivating the work. Those who are honored as great leaders are not merely good at getting results efficiently, they are able to find grander goals that help people look up to see the big picture and set their sights higher.”
  • Not giving up – much has been written about the importance of persistence, and for good reason.  It is something that is easy to forget when the going gets tough and reminders are useful.  As Rosabeth says “everything can look like failure in the middle”.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Visionary Leaders

I love what @Leadershipfreak writes on a regular basis.  His leadership insight is that cannot be matched and is perfect for any industry, especially education.
This below is taken from his website.  Vision is important for any leader.  Without vision, execution is a hallucination.  It is extremely important for educational leaders to have a clear vision.  I believe that many schools have leaders that have execution but lack the vision.  So essentially things get done but with no large goal in mind.  So, how do those leaders ever know when they have broken through a barrier and accomplished something?  Are those schools just aimlessly doing the day by day hoping that they are doing right by the children that are in their halls?
If you ever feel that you are just doing the day-by-day and not making any headway to achieving a goal, what vision have you laid out for yourself lately?  Always remember that work without vision is drudgery.  Vision without work is just dreaming.  But when you combine work with a vision you will achieve your destiny.

The Seven Qualities of Visionary Leaders | Leadership Freak:
Vision:

  • Creates vitality.
  • Focuses energy.
  • Explains purpose.

Apart from clear vision:

  • Distraction directs.
  • Desperation disrupts.
  • Despair discourages.

Seven qualities of visionary leaders:

  1. Optimistic about the future.
  2. Focused on the best in their people. They focus on the unique strengths of every employee.
  3. Never satisfied but always content. They seem happy where they are but refuse to stay there.
  4. Consumed with making tomorrow better than today. Hopeful leaders never settle.
  5. Accepting of change.
  6. Inclusive, not exclusive. Hopeful leaders invite others into their vision.
  7. Personally bought in. Vision is inside them.”