Friday Five – Five Leadership Characteristics

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking recently about leadership.  Good leadership vs. bad leadership, developing leadership, finding leadership, various different aspects of it. I serve in a leadership role at my volunteer agency and a supervisory role in my career, but also serve as a subordinate and a “follower” (for lack of a better term) in other aspects of my life. In recent months, I’ve begun considering what are the qualities of leadership that are both appreciated and not so appreciated, whether I’m the supervisor or the supervised. So, in honor of that, today’s friday five are five leadership characteritsics that I’ve encountered recently, and whether I appreciate the characteristic or not

Five Leadership Characteristics

1.  Willing to Get Your Hands Dirty – A leader who is willing to get their hands dirty is one I’m ahppy to serve under. This is the individual who not only delegates tasks, but recognizes taht they may need to step up and assist in teh completion of tasks. Instead of giving orders and then disappearing behind closed doors, this is someone who participates in the trainings, cleanings, and overall tasks at the station. Now, this characteristic can definitely become a negative thing when the leader is so busy doing the dirty work they forget to actually “lead the troops”.

2.  Ability to delegate responsibility – As a leader, I know that I do not have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to complete every task. I also recognize that the individuals who serve under me are qualified and capable of completing tasks assigned to them. With that knowledge, I’m happy to delegate the tasks to those people who truly should be doing the task. As an employee, I’m also much more appreciative when the person who should be doing the job is the one assigned the task. I’ve never been more frustrated than I am when my supervisor assigns a task to others, when it isn’t their task to complete.

3.  trustworthy – I need to be able to trust the person that is leading me. Maybe not in the personal realm, but definitely in the professional realm. On the street, I need to trust that the individual who is leading me isn’t going to lead me astray or in the wrong direction. I need to trust that the decisions my supervisor makes are going to be the safest, smartest, and best decisions to accomplish the goals. As a leader, I want me people to trust me and I want to trust them. Trust allows me to hand them a task and know that it will be complete. Their trust of me allows them to know that I’m not going to go around them to complete the task and that I’m not going to “sell them out” when something goes wrong.

4.  Able to share the spotlight – As a leader/supervisor, I am happy to share the spotlight. In fact, I’m happy to step into the shadows to ensure that the person who deserves spotlight gets it. It can pluck a nerve when I hear someone say “We did a great job” when they were not even a part of the group doing the job. As an employee, I do not do my job for the spotlight, but we can all admit that receiving recognition for our work is important. I’ve had bosses who have happily accepted the praise and accolades handed out for work that they had no participation in, beyond delegating the task to me. I believe that a good leader is happy to turn the spotlight on the people who truly deserve the recognition.

5.  Ready to Fight For His/Her People– I work for government and I volunteer in a government structure, so I know that you have to choose your battles. I’ve often said that the battles I fight for my volunteer agency aren’t necessarily the ones I would choose myself, but they are the choice of the membership. As someone who serves under leaders I want to know that my leader is not just in it for himself, but is willing to put aside his desires when the majority believes in something different. Nothing is worse than a leader who is only willing to fight “their” fights. It definitely breaks the trust, keeps the spotlight on them, and breaks down the group dynamic that we have in many situations.

 So, those are just five characteristics that I have come across that when applied appropriately can truly create a great leader. I can’t say that I succeed in demonstrating these characteristics, but I definitely strive to keep them in mind as I lead.  As with any of my lists, there are certainly many other characteristics that could be added to this list.  What do you look for in a leader or strive to be as a leader yourself?

Until next time…stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

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