Gary Burnison has written an interesting article on the softer side of leadrship. Here are his six main points:
Leaders are the mirrors for the entire organization.
If the leader is down, the organization will follow. If leaders reflect optimism and confidence, the organization will rise. Good leaders have the ability after every conversation to make people feel better, more capable, and more willing to stretch than they did before the conversation occurred.
Leadership is taking charge to help others execute.
A leader does not tell people what to think or do, but rather guides them in what to think about. Taking charge means setting the strategy and agenda—and also making sure that the length and pace of the runway is right for the organization to actualize that agenda. Remember, it’s others who will need to execute against that plan. If you try to charge up the mountain without the buy-in of your followers, you’ll soon find yourself trekking alone.
Leadership is awareness of what you’re not hearing.
It’s a fact of life as a leader: People won’t tell you want you really need to know, only what they think you want to hear. To keep from being isolated, you need to be out there and engaged. Stay close to your customers and employees. Ask questions with an inquiring mind (not to conduct an "inquisition"). Look to reopen eyes to situations and possibilities, staring with yours.
Leadership should be humbling.
Humility is the grace that constantly whispers, "It’s not about you." Humility means that you know who you are, where you’ve been, and what you have accomplished. With that knowledge, you can get out of your own way and focus on others with confidence that you can lead, inspire, and guide them.
Leadership has an endpoint--organizations should not.
Leaders must recognize the endpoint of their leadership is not the endpoint for the organization. Just as leaders took over from someone else, so others will follow them as successors. Your job as a leader is to be the source of energy and change to grow the organization during your time and to act as a steward. Then you will turn it over to another in better shape than when you inherited it.
Leadership is all about how you make other people feel.
Your achievement as a leader is measured in the success of others. To motivate and inspire, you must shift from "what must be done" to "why we’re doing this." You can’t just put up the targets and tell people to take aim in order to reap a short-term reward. Leadership conveys and embodies the enduring purpose and deeper reasons for an organization’s existence.
(The only tweek I would make regards #6. I would argue that for a Christian leader it is all about bringing glory to God first and foremost.)
Read whole article here.