In yesterday’s Advisor, Alan R. Zimmerman, PhD, CSP, CPAE, shared the first five of his nine tests that every leader must pass. Today, he shares the final four questions that those in leadership roles have to constantly keep in mind.
6. Do You Project a Contagious Positive Attitude?
W. Clement Stone, CEO of one of the most successful insurance companies in the United States, told his sales agents, “The sale is contingent upon the attitude of the salesperson, not the attitude of the prospect.”
In a similar sense, great leaders know that their effectiveness is more closely linked to their own attitude than that of the followers. They know that if they are going to motivate others, they must first show others how positive and motivated they are.
Leaders keep a positive attitude. They refuse to give up, and they realize that things are seldom as bad as they might first appear.
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7. Do You Consciously Work on Developing the People Around You?
Leaders are always looking for opportunities to develop the leadership potential they see in others. Indeed, effective leaders are more focused on developing talent than they are on acquiring self-oriented power. As author and coach Virginia Satir taught, “Power can be used for growth rather than who has the right to do what to whom and when.”
8. Do You Look for Lessons in Every Mistake?
Mistakes are a part of life and work, and effective leaders accept that fact, whether it is a mistake they make personally or a mistake made by one of their followers.
However, great leaders are more concerned with what was learned from the mistake. As one of my clients tells his staff, “I don’t care what you’ve done, but what you’ve learned.”
In processing mistakes, effective leaders avoid the word “they,” referring to what “they” did wrong. Leaders use the word “we” much more often, talking about how “we” can fix this so it doesn’t happen again.
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9. Do You Consistently Reward Excellent Performance?
Leaders evaluate and then place people into positions based on their strengths, performance, and potential rather than based on seniority or political correctness. Leaders consistently reward people for a job well done because they know unrewarded performance tends to disappear over time.
In particular, leaders reward problem-solvers. They know that a part of their success is because someone is solving problems for them. It may be the cheerful employee who treats the customers with respect or the maid that cleans the offices. All these people—and many more—are helping solve problems in the lives of leaders, and leaders reward them for it.
The good news is you can improve your leadership abilities. You can maximize your influence, make your organization a better place to work, and make your home a better place to live. It starts here, with your own self-examination.