Pay attention leaders. I’m about to share the #1 Secret of Great Leadership. Countless books and articles have been written about leadership secrets and here I’m about to share it with you. I’m not even going to charge you or make you sit through a seminar or anything. Even though it’s free, it’s still a Truth that could determine the trajectory of your leadership learning curve and even your career. You might want to write this down.
Ready? The #1 secret of great leadership is – [drumroll, please] – there is no secret. No, this isn’t the answer to some sort of Zen riddle, just a common sense truth. Leadership is always on display 100% of the time (even and especially when we might wish our own leadership wasn’t). We’ve all seen and experienced the good and bad, the miserable and the inspiring. We all know what makes for a good leader and what we’d never wish on another human being.
I’ve trained business leaders in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia and one part of several different programs was to have people list the traits of the best leader they ever had and the traits of the worst leader. You know what? Across hundreds of leaders, across blue and white collar jobs, across industries, across cultures and countries, the answers were remarkably similar.
Notice, though, that the question isn’t a theoretical, “What are the qualities of great leadership?” but a very practical, “What were the traits and characteristics of your best leader – what really set them apart?” This isn’t an abstract question; it’s a question about your personal experience. In fact, I’m confident that you could answer that question right now and it would be very comparable to what everyone else says.
You don’t need another book or conference or weekend workshop to learn how to be an effective leader. Get a small group of people, individually answer the questions about your best and worst leader, then compare and compile lists. Take the list of the worst traits and DON’T do those anymore. Take the list of best traits and START doing them immediately.