08.12.2011 Leadership and Leadership Development No Comments


Employee Learning Week

I’ve had the opportunity over the past month to think a lot about leadership. Working with clients in Boston, Washington, Ithaca, Norwich, and Syracuse to deliver training and coaching has reminded and reinforced for me the fact that you don’t need a title to be a leader.

The key factor at the heart of effective leadership, I absolutely believe, is self-leadership. What does this involve? Self-awareness, to begin with. Knowing how you interact with others, based on observing how others interact with you, provides clues to this. Clarifying your values, and then acting congruently with them, is also part of this self-awareness. These intrapersonal characteristics take time, and thought, and effort, but they provide the foundation of effective leadership. And you don’t need a title to be able to do this.

With this platform in place, people are attracted to and willing to work with others who have the desire and ability to treat them with honesty, with empathy, and with respect. What does this mean? Soliciting others’ opinions and input, and sharing your own are two behaviors that demonstrate this. Listening effectively, to understand not just what’s said, but what’s meant, is another set of leadership behaviors. You don’t need a title to be able to do any of this, either.

Leaders are problem-seekers, looking for opportunities to collaborate in problem solving. They don’t settle for status quo; they look for ways to improve things, and model an openness to trying new ideas, whether they’re technology- or people- or process-based, in order to strive for continuous improvement in what they do and in the systems and organizations in which they’re engaged. Again, you don’t need a title

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