Tag Archives: army

What Makes a Good Leader?

State Library of Vicotoria

Human pyramid by members of the Ebenezer Gym Club

“Gaining trust and building teams is hardest”

Good Leaders tend to produce more good leaders.

Quick List of Valued Qualities in Good Leaders:
1. Adapts quickly to new situations; can handle bad news
2. Gives useful feedback; sets high ethical tone
3. Is positive, encouraging, and realistically optimistic

Recently, I was speaking at a large Microsoft Leadership Development Day and gave an opening example of what makes a good leader. I had read a report that asked that very same question by the Army War College in a study of highly regarded major generals in Iraq.
Below are the responses in order of importance:Good leaders produce more good leaders

  • Keeps cool under pressure
  • Clearly explains mission, standards and priorities
  • Sees the big picture; provides context and perspective
  • Makes tough, sound decisions on time

The study showed that even when tactical and technical competencies are excellent, interpersonal skills are critical. One of the authors of the study, retired General Walter Ulmer, said: “One thing we found is it’s still easier to teach technical skills than to teach people how to gain trust and build teams.” Ulmer also noted that many key behaviors are learned by example; therefore good leaders are able to create more good leaders.

I looked at every one of those leaders in that room at Microsoft and said “Look your technical skills and tactical abilities got you into the game. Now, how successful you’ll become will be determined by your ability to harness effective Emotional Intelligence and Play Big!”

Playing Big and Building your Leadership
The stuff that leaders are made of:

  • Emotional Self-Awareness:
    • Stays Calm Under pressure
  • Empathy
    • Is aware of other’s moods
    • Is a good listener
  • Personal Drive
    • Is energetic
    • Is goal oriented
  • Optimism
    • Handles set-backs effectively
    • Had a positive outlook
  • Coaches others
    • Is a good mentor
    • Gives clear feedback
  • Authenticity
    • Honest and open when presenting one’s self to others
    • Builds trust through actions
  • Communication
    • Gives adequate instruction
    • Doesn’t personalize disagreements
  • Impulse Control
    • Rarely acts impulsively
    • Maintains sense of humor under stress
  • Adaptability
    • Is open to change
    • Is effective through change

One thing I’ve learned about “Playing Big” and leadership throughout my life is that successful application of these skills is not something that happens instantly. But, with even a little improvement in one department, performance goes up, effectiveness goes up, and personal leadership goes up. That is why it is called “PLAYING BIG!”

Emotional Intelligence and Play Big-
How we handle ourselves and our relationships can determine life successes more than IQ.

THIS WEEK: Pick one of the EI Playing Big Competencies and practice it. Observe the differences your deliberate practice will make in your life at work and at home!