By Nick Roud
Why do you lead? is one of the very first questions I ask my coaching clients. Over the years the response to this question continues to make a huge positive impact on me.
What really makes for leadership excellence or is it just two words on a piece of paper! This is something I care deeply about and enjoy meeting head on.
What do you notice about truly exceptional leaders!
If we was to interview 1000 people from all corners of our globe I am confident we would create a compelling list of Leadership Excellence, and, in February 2023 we will start our next White Paper Questionnaire ‘The Leaders Mind’. If you would like to take part you will find a link at the bottom of today’s blog. Thanks
Here’s the evidence we have collated over the years.
they have that kind of mana/aura that makes you feel like you can conquer any mountain (safely)
they install a belief in you that has never been seen before
they care about you
they believe in you
they make the impossible, possible
they are relatable – humble – empathetic
- the want you to be successful!
Those kind of excellent leaders are no different to you or I. They have question marks; they have self-doubt; they make mistakes; they have deep scares on their backs; they haven’t had it easy; they don’t have all the answers. They are forward facing!
What many people don’t have though that excellent leaders do have is that unique self-determination not to give up!
Leaders are not born they are made. It’s something we continue to see from leaders who engage with us here at Nick Roud Coaching, during our initial meeting nearly 98% of leaders comment on the very fact that they have learnt to be a leader.
They get up every single day and tell themselves I am going to be better than yesterday. They continue to evolve and not rest on what they did before (that is in the past its today and the future that they laser in on). They continue to put in the hard work and sacrifice that goes into each and every day. They do many little things that go unnoticed. They don’t seek praise. They get up when they are knocked down, they look in the mirror and are proud of who they are.
Leadership excellence has nothing to do with what school, college, university you went to. It has absolutely nothing to do with your background, your parents, the country you grew up in. It has everything to do with you and how you ensure you are putting the next foot forward.
When we are working with Boards, CEOs and executive teams with a focus on succession planning (the bench) I look at things very differently and stay well away from the technical aspect of a particular role. When interviewing potential leaders who may well be seen as taking on a bigger role my dyslexic brain takes over? I want to really understand that individual, I am so curious that I am sure it bugs the hell out of them, why they do what they do and what they actually do. Not what the job description tells me they do I want to get under the hood. I am wanting to understand how they relate to others – those teams, stakeholders who they will be potentially leading. What are the really important things that matter to them, what is their character like, how do they see things and what do they want to leave behind.
You can learn how to read a P&L (profit and loss statement) you can learn the steps of six sigma, you can learn how to write code, but more importantly a leaders role is to set a clear vision, hire the right people at the right time and get out of the way! So yes Leadership excellence has a great deal about how you relate to others. This relatable aura doesn’t come overnight, nor from a video. It comes from deep within the person and unlocking that key truly make a big difference.
Over several months of coaching a leader you get to notice the little subtle things that might be holding him/her back, what strengths are they leveraging and what areas needs to be activated/developed. Seeing them interact with their people, how they listen to others, how they manage and handle enormous pressure, these and other elements all go into growing as a leader. No one individual is perfect; with leadership I feel it’s less of a follow this path to success or here is a proven way of leading, it’s more about a feeling, a sense an ability to read the room and how you relate to others. Every human is unique and it’s appreciating that there isn’t a magical formula to becoming a great leader, but a bit of luck, timing and being in the right place at the right time.
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One of the biggest challenges a leader faces today is knowing how to articulate their failures. Being confident about sharing them to others and ‘letting others in’. It is not a sign of weakness at all. I know myself, hiding my dyslexia from so many people for so many years was not a great thing to do, today it’s my biggest superpower! In my humble view how a leader faced adversity, learnt and grew is far more interesting and tells a lot about the leader than anything else. Our future leaders must succeed and fail, they must continue to build those deep reserves to enable them and those they serve onto great things. How can we possible be a true leader if we haven’t faced positive or negative references to draw from (experiences)!
A couple of questions to ponder, use a journal book to capture your thoughts rather than a computer!
- Why did you decide you wanted to be a leader?
- Describe your first day leading people – how did you feel, what was playing in your mind, what where you excited and nervous about?
- Jot down what you see as your top 2 leadership qualities and your top 2 development areas? What action are you putting into them?
- What have been some of your leadership achievements to date?
- When you retire how will you want to be remembered?
Action: Start exploring those 5 questions, let us know how you go.
Leadership development takes many forms and with that a plethora of options. The work we do with leaders is for a minimum of six months, its evidence based, its current and it gets results. I’d encourage you if you want to truly understand more about your leadership then give us a call here on +6421375630.
Nick Roud is a quiet executive coach and founding director of Nick Roud Coaching. His work is award winning.