As I considered your feedback from my last blog post, a profile emerged of a leader everyone dreams of working for. The profile’s seven elements correspond with key parts of the human body.
Heart – The dream leader is humble and doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously. The English word “humble,” comes from the Latin word “humus” which means “of the ground or earth.” The humble leader celebrates victories with and for the team, not in spite of them. For the leader, the victory is about the success of the team and building them up for the next battle.
Soul – The dream leader is a person of character who does what he or she says, is consistent no matter who is around and even when no one is watching, and is comfortable in his or her own skin.
Eyes – Dream leaders see and inspire a shared vision. They see a little farther ahead than the rest, chart the course accordingly, and help us understand why we’re headed that way.
Ears – The dream leader is a deep listener who abides by St. Francis of Assisi’s famous words, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I never feel judged or wrong when a leader leans in to really hear and understand what I’m saying.
Mouth – The dream leader is a consistent and skilled communicator who is adept at sharing both good and bad news and can have difficult conversations with grace and dignity. It is how the leader communicates that makes the most difference, not what is communicated. When his or her team faces a challenge, the leader can quickly re-establish a calm environment and reassure them that the sky is not falling, so that everyone can focus on digesting the issues and generating solid solutions.
Hands – The dream leader makes it a top priority to invest in his or her people through coaching and mentoring, helping develop them for success. People are inherently motivated by the opportunity to become masterful in something. By freeing them to develop themselves you energize them and they in turn energize your business.
Mind – The dream leader thinks about his or her leadership role at three levels:
- Operational/administrative – responsible for effectively managing challenges
- Empowerment/development – concerned, caring and empathetic towards others, value-oriented
- Visionary – Detached from the constraints of today to develop a broader long-term perspective for what is possible
There are observable and measurable benefits for the whole organization when their leader has acquired each of these parts. Employees will be more engaged, motivated and effective in the work they deliver. It’s a triple win. Win for the leader, win for the employee and win for the organization.