14 Oct TWELVE THINGS GOOD LEADERS DO
Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper on April 14, 2015
- Good leaders (forgive the repetition) lead for the common good, not to feed their egos, or increase their power or their fortune. They look out for the wellbeing of others, are consistent with their values, and lead by example. That makes them reliable and predictable.
- They do not demand that others act or solve things for them. They do not victimize themselves or blame others for their shortcomings, failures, or mistakes. They do not waste their time criticizing, but instead spend it learning, acting and resolving. They manage problems, causes, or projects and generally carry them forward. They take risks for the things they believe in.
- They get results. They measure themselves and others through actual achievements, not by the scope of their promises. They are not arrogant, since they know that being a leader does not make them infallible, perfect, or more capable in anything, but instead they respect people and do not offend them with words or actions.
- They know that respect is the foundation of the trust they need to lead their team. They are confident and modest at the same time, since they are not necessarily leaders in all facets of their life. They know how to follow others when required.
- They make decisions, no matter how difficult or tough they may be. They take on risks, but above all, they take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and decisions on the many occasions that they are wrong, just like anyone else (although their failures tend to be visible). They know how to listen and apologize when needed.
- They have a clear vision of where they want to go, they bet on the future with optimism, and they provide direction to others. Generally, this vision involves a mission that captivates them, a legacy that leaves a mark, something that summons their passion, and, above all, that inspires others to carry it out. In fact, leaders set ambitious goals for themselves that inspire and motivate others to work toward them as their own. They mobilize and create changes that were thought impossible and that break inertia or apathy.
- They genuinely care about their people and are interested in making them grow. They act as their mentors and seek to make them better and better in what they do. They are motivators and tend to be warm in their own way (although they are never entirely satisfied with the results). They are full of energy and enthusiasm, inspiring and energizing those who trust him or her.
- They know how to bring out the best in people, they help them see things in themselves that they did not know they had. They show them the possibilities of what they can become, of better versions of themselves. They lead their teams to results they never imagined they could obtain.
- They know that being leaders is not being focused on themselves or their ego, but on the people they lead. Jack Welch, former GE CEO, says it best: “Your success as a leader will come not from what you do every day, but from the reﬂected glory of your team’s performance”.[i]
- They use their charisma to build trust, not to dazzle the unwary or win over fans of their ego without any foundation. Leaders protect (or try to protect) their people from real dangers, but still reveal reality to them.
- Good leaders seek and create network with other leaders. They know they are responsible for developing more leaders and are not afraid to interact with and hire people better than themselves.
- They know that the most difficult leadership is that of leading oneself. They have the discipline and put in the effort and dedication it takes to be a good leader.
[i] Jack and Suzy Welch, “Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today” in A Companion to the #1 Bestseller WINNING: THE ANSWERS Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business, 2007 https://silo.pub/winning-the-answers-confronting-74-of-the-toughest-questions-in-business-today.html visited 24 September 2020