It was Boss’s Day and I was listening to talkback radio. Driving out to do a keynote address to heads of private banks, my mind was intrigued by the string of callers responding.
Some loved their bosses and others dreading the day, as they felt compelled to take their bosses out to lunch. There was one caller who stood out. She said she did not really like her job but had stayed on for six years solely due to her boss!
“People are our greatest asset” a statement often heard at town hall gatherings and from the mouth of senior decision makers. Yet not remembered as time goes by. In fact rather easily forgotten.
In the past deepening employee engagement was seen as the job of Human Resources. Not anymore though. Today it has become an all-encompassing organizational initiative and ultimately the responsibility of all business channels.
A friend of mine asked her daughter as she graduated from University “what would you like to do” and her rapid response was “I’d like to work as a stewardess at Virgin Airlines.
After years of guiding her child to success, she was taken aback. When asked what led to her decision, she replied “I’d like to meet Richard Branson someday” That is what I call an inspirational leader.
Looking back on my career as an employee I had the pleasure of working with many leaders. There were intermittent bad ones no doubt but in the main most were the reason I woke up in the morning to go to work.
When life as an employee ended, my entrepreneurial skills included sifting for good leaders. I knew good leadership from afar and knew that if they bought my services, they would be a pleasure to serve.
Looking back now as a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer and business owner for 21 years, I know the traits that make a good leader. I attempt to explain these to you but they are by no means exhaustive. You could add to my discussion I am sure.
A good leader has to believe in continuous learning for self, and others working in the team. This includes keeping current with the environment and what it calls out for. In today’s world, resilience and adaptive capabilities sound out as number one on the list.
Language verbal and non-verbal can make or break a leader. Learning language that is two-way and influencing far outweighs directive language, though in some instances the latter is called for and needed.
Far greater than the power of academic excellence comes the ability to inspire, be passionate and purposeful. This requires guided expertise to tap into for a leader’s identity is dormant until activated.
Only once these are achieved is a leader truly able to develop people down the line effectively. The need to set up coaching infrastructures, giving managers the skills to coach and individuals the ability to self-manage.
A client situation comes to mind. Using NLP tools and techniques, everyone down the line were given coaching skills in tranches over a period of eight months or so.
It was striking to see how groups of people motivated themselves to achieve high performance. It was like lightning, how people awakened to their own sense of power.
The leader knew he had done his job, admitting to me that he could finally do his real work of taking the organization where it needed to go. He had stopped the flow of people into his office.
They were armed with applicable tools that heightened their performance and gave them edge over competitors. Wasn’t that what every leader should be doing?
Looking back as a consultant offering organisations’ services, I observed the following traits about leaders who hired me. They were;
Unlike most organisations that hire trainers to fulfil a “tick the box” exercise, these clients culled all other training to make way for budgets and give their people life skills beyond work.
This to me was what leadership was about. Giving people skills to do the job then having them perform. I saw too many organisations do the exact opposite.
Once their Emotional & Spiritual Intelligences had sparked, they became unstoppable. My question is wouldn’t every organization want that?
The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.” That's how the Oxford Dictionary defines leadership. In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Leaders motivate others to achieve something new and better.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.