When people refer to or remember leaders, you seldom hear them speak of their capability or intelligence. They get remembered for the way people heard them speak, felt them respond, and their experiences of interactions with them.
A leader is best
when people barely know that he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him, Worst of all when they despise him.
A good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say,
“We did this ourselves.”
Leadership success is defined in many ways. The one most certain fact is that leadership needs to be practiced! To be a great leader, one needs to be well aware of the fact that you are constantly contributing to a perception being formed about you!
Your knowledge and expertise can lead you, but to lead others it needs to make sense of all you mean to them! Whether you are a corporate leader, a public figure who leads people, or a parent or teacher, the facts around leadership success stand on those pillars that support people follow them. Many well researched methods to leadership practice speak of various critical dimensions, but the undisputed basics still remain on the model that ‘People See you – Hear You – And Feel You’ to decide on how they look up to you.
In my 30 years of experience as a business executive, a trainer, coach and mentor, I have had numerous encounters with leaders and their followers and in every one of those relationships I have noted all that all admirers of their leaders spoke of the simple 5 aspects that set these individuals apart.
The fact that leadership can be learned and practiced, these simple ‘Big 5 Of Leadership’ can be developed to excellence.
“Seeing is believing’ – ‘Hearing is understanding’ – ‘Feeling is trusting’
Leadership and your image – Are you approachable??
A lot about a leader is understood by the way people translate and how they interpret what they see. When you appear calm, yet motivated, relaxed and yet driven, humble yet assertive, they interpret the results that they would experience while interacting with and therefore want to follow you.
Your persona and character strongly depend upon how you appear. It is less about your actual attire, but more about your being able to project your image in a manner that makes you approachable. Your humility and empathy can be seen in your overall demeanour and the warmth and approachability interpret your nature. People want to connect with someone who appears connectable. From your body language to your sense of the way you carry yourself and express your perspective is a strong translator of who you are. Choose your attire to express warmth and approachability. Being over dressed to the occasion often signals people to be wary of who you might actually be. More than your attire and confidence, people pick up signals of your humility and courage!
Leadership and Conversation – Are you understood with simplicity?
When people interact with leaders, they want to respect the person not because of the authority or position, but because of the way they express themselves, and because of the manner in which their words impact them and their situations & circumstances.
The golden old line, ‘What you say is half as important as how you say it’ holds strongly true. When people interact with others, they only translate what they see and hear. Often leaders act and react more from their authority and lesser with the needed empathy. If you hear the speeches of most successful leaders, you will find their vocabulary is simple, holistic and empathetic. Complex language often perplexes people and challenges them to pause listening and start analysing. In the most difficult times, leaders choose the simplest lines to share meaning and motivate people to reflect and respond in thought. The choice of being assertive and not aggressive, simple vs. complex and direct vs. convoluted is the most appreciated fact by others. Choose your words carefully! and communicate with simple, straight and empathetic language.
Leadership and trust – Can you be trusted??
Your kinaesthetic sense is a combination of touch, taste and smell. With these 3 senses live, we human beings translate and perceive a lot about our environment. The 3 make up the way we feel!
You will often hear people narrate their experience when they have met with leaders and the words almost say ‘It was so comfortable and easy interacting with this person’. The way people feel while interacting with you is about is critical for your leadership perception to hold firm appropriately. This factor of feel is important to instil confidence and humility and rapport develops into trust. Your authority needs to be felt, but admired. Admiration comes from command, and demand seldom works effectively. Humility can be sensed; it is felt in the touch and mannerism that oozes from people we interact with. Our perception leads us to want to connect and establish a rapport. Leadership is about creating a motivation in others to want to be in your presence!
Leadership demands performance – Do you walk your talk??
Respect is commanded!
Self-discipline is always an admired virtue. When people have expectations and a leader stands good to responding to them, that’s then you hear ‘He never fails in actions’
Observing one’s sense of time, sense of response, senses of habits are all those factors that contribute to the way people predict behaviours. When a leader meets on demand of great self-discipline and his sense of responsiveness, that’s when people have the confidence they can bank on their leader. Role modelling, walking the talk, punctuality and consistency are those factors that have no room for compromise for successful leadership. Remember, people only translate what they hear, see, feel and experience. Great leaders demonstrate this consistently.
It is well said… LEADERSHIP IS A POTENT COMBINATION OF STRATEGY AND CHARACTER, BUT IF YOU MUST BE WITHOUT ONE, BE WITHOUT THE STRATEGY – Norman Schwarzkopf
Leadership demands success – Do you support others succeed??
People do not remember leaders for how successful the leader was, they only recall how leaders helped them succeed!
The leader the mentor, the leader the coach are those roles that people never forget. Help to people means various things, but mentoring & coaching means a very specific thing to all. When a leader coaches & mentors effectively, people feel gratified, and special because they believe that the leader was concerned about their potential, and he helped them explore their capability to bring out the best in them! Observe, listen, empathise and coach. Bring out the best in others.
firstname.lastname@example.org – People Development & Change Specialist and Life Coach