As I start this series on leadership qualities, I have prepared my innermost thoughts regarding this topic.
It is essential to every organization that you have in your service leaders at every level who possess the skills, abilities and attitudes that will enable them to successfully carry out the responsibilities incumbent to their office.
There is no quick way to develop leaders. Leaders must learn throughout their lives, never seizing as students, never being above gaining new insights or studying innovative procedures or methods, whatever the source.
The leaders in your organization must learn early in their service certain basic qualities and have opportunities to mature in them.
The experienced leader must teach these qualities to their staff, if they are to develop into able leaders themselves. Basic instruction in daily tasks, responsibility and customer service, is sufficient for our staff but not for those who lead them.
In order to skillfully lead an organization, the CEO must have people within who possess, among other things, the following essential qualities, which through experience become mastered skills:
Above all things, Managers must be loyal. Disagreement is not necessarily disloyalty. A manager who, in the best interest of the organization, disagrees, should be listened to. On the other hand, a manager who actively participates in or encourage his actions that are counter to the good of the organization is disloyal. These managers, whether new or old, must be expeditiously removed. Their ability to influence and discourage loyal employees is a contagious disease. In cases where disloyal actions and attitudes cannot be changed, harsh action must be taken to rid ourselves of those among us who see no value in and subvert our cause.
Leaders must have courage. They must be fearless and have the fortitude to carry out assignments given them – the gallantry to accept the risk of leadership! They must not bulk at the side of obstacles nor must they become bewildered when in the presence of adversity. The role of a leader has inherent periods of loneliness, despair, ridicule and rejection. Leaders must be long suffering in their duties, They must have the courage to act with confidence and to excel in times of uncertainty or danger as well as in times of prosperity.
Few leaders will sustain themselves as managers without the strong personal desire – an inherent commitment to influencing people, processes and outcomes. Weak is the manager who does not want to be one. We must be careful to avoid placing capable employees into positions of leadership that they have no desire to fulfill.
IV. Emotional stamina
Each succeedingly higher level of leadership places increasing demands on the emotions of the manager. We must ensure that our leaders at every level have the stamina to recover rapidly from disappointment – to bounce back from discouragement, to carry out the responsibilities of their office without becoming distorted in their views – without losing clear perspective, as well as the emotional strength to persist in the face of seemingly difficult circumstances
V. Physical stamina
Organizations must have managers who can endure the physical demands of their leadership duties. Managers must nurture their bodies with the basic health staples. Managers cannot lead from their bedside. They lack energy when filled with too much food or drink. The distorting potions of this modern age only confuse the mind. A body not properly used becomes abused. A healthy body supports a healthy mind. Our managers must be strong in body in order to lead the charge.
Managers must develop empathy – and appreciation for and an understanding of the values of others, a sensitivity for other cultures, beliefs and traditions. However, empathy must not be confused with sympathy, which may result in unwise consolation in times when, above all other things, the good of the organization must be pursued with adroit diplomacy or battlefield action.
Young managers must learn to be decisive, knowing when to act and when not to act, taking into account all facts bearing on the situation and then responsibly carrying out their leadership role. Vacillation and procrastination confuse and discourage subordinates, peers and superiors and serve the competition well.
Learning by observation and through instincts sharpened by tested experience, our managers must anticipate thoughts, actions and consequences. Anticipation bears a level of risk that is willingly excepted by the manager who will excel when others turn to the comfort of personal security.
Essential to all acts of leadership is the timing of recommendations and actions. There is no magic formula for developing a sense of timing. One often gets this leadership skill by applying the lessons learned through failure. Knowing who you are dealing with, their motives, characters, priorities and ambitions are critical elements even when seeking approval of the simplest recommendation
An essential quality of leadership is an intrinsic desire to win. It is not necessary to win all the time; however, it is necessary to win the important contests. Managers must understand that the competition inside and outside our business is strong and not to be taken lightly. A sense of competitive anger drives those who win on the battlefield, in negotiations and in situations of internal strife. A leader without a sense of competitiveness is weak and easily overcome by The slightest challenge.
Proper training and experience develops in managers a personal feeling of assurance with which to meet the inherent challenges of leadership. Those who portray a lack of self confidence in their ability to carry out leadership assignments give Signs to their subordinates, peers and superiors that these duties are beyond their capabilities. They become, therefore, weak leaders and useless managers.
Learning to account for personal actions and those of subordinates is fundamental to leadership. Managers must never keep praise or lay blame on others for what they themselves achieve or fail to accomplish, no matter how glorious or grave the consequences.
Leaders are only necessary when someone is to be responsible to see that actions are carried out and directions followed. No district manager, general manager, or assistant manager, or leader should ever be allowed to serve who will not accept full responsibility for his actions.
Managers must be credible. Their words and actions must be believable to both employees and guests. They must be trusted to have the intelligence and integrity to provide correct information. Leaders lacking credibility will not gain proper influence and are to be hastily removed from positions of responsibility, for they cannot be trusted.
The quality of unyielding drive to accomplish assignments is a desirable and essential quality of leadership. The week persist only when things go their way. The strong persist and pursue through discouragement, deception and even personal abandonment. Pertinancy is often the key to achieving difficult assignments or meeting challenging goals.
If a manager cannot be depended upon in all situations to carry out his roles and responsibilities, relieve him of them. A district manager cannot observe each and every action of his subordinate managers; therefore he must depend upon them to get things done. Young managers should understand that employees and supervisors within the company are counting on their ability to lead, and they should be proud of being entrusted with such responsibility.
Our leaders must have the essential quality of stewardship, a caretaker quality. They must serve in a manner that encourages confidence, trust and loyalty. Subordinates are not to be abused; they are to be guided, developed and rewarded for their performance. Punishment is to be reserved as a consequence of last resort and sparingly applied only when all other attempts have failed to encourage the rebellious to comply. Without a flock there can be no shepherd. Without an army there can be no battle captains. Without subordinates there can be no leaders. Leaders are, therefore, caretakers of the interests and well-being of those and the purpose they serve.
Those of you who are overly ambitious may attempt to acquire these qualities over a short period. As I, Eduardo, have found in my own life, these qualities of leadership simply take time, learning and experience to develop. There are a few who will find shortcuts. There are simply rare opportunities to accelerate competence, and without paying the price, no matter how great or small, none will become prepared to lead others.
Learn these leadership qualities well. Teach them to your employees. Only then will you expand your ability to lead your company in pursuit of success.