The #1 Leadership Characteristic for Success
The #1 leadership characteristic is hard to find but powerful when applied and lived.
Now, how do you get someone to follow you? Successful leaders have found that it is not a position of power that matters most in the employee relationship. However, personal power that embodies the real key. At nearly every turn, the difference between positional power and personal power is decidedly vast. The #1 leadership characteristic shines through.
The #1 Leadership Characteristic Revealed
For example, see these two distinct ways to lead.
Ego Centric Leadership
- Authoritative approach.
- Employees are subordinate.
- “Do as I say!” mentality.
- Fear strategies.
- The leader has all the answers.
- Self-focus, seeking personal victory, recognition, and advancement.
- An employee success and engagement approach.
- Employees are partners.
- “Do as I do also!” Lead by example.
- Positive influencing strategies.
- The team has the answers, too.
- Others-focused, leading with ethics, and caring enough to help others win too.
Notably, the essence of a leader’s presence and success comes down to which approach they take. The second approach about, Servant leadership, really defines the #1 leadership characteristic-integrity. After many studies on the subject, statistical evidence linked to leadership effectiveness and failure shows that leadership success has more to do with who you really are as a person and much less to do with your position or job title. This defines integrity.
Research on the #1 Leadership Characteristic
Researchers, Kouzes and Posner, identified four crucial leadership characteristics from an exhaustive list of over 225 different values, traits, and characteristics. Their methodology included a questionnaire and later, case studies, and their results are recorded in their book, The Leadership Challenge. One of their most hard-hitting questions was, “What values (personal traits or characteristics) do you look for and admire in your superiors?” Their results summarized the views of over 20,000 managers from four continents and defined four major characteristics.
The #1 leadership characteristic that the study revealed managers want in their leaders is honesty or integrity. A leadership strategy with a foundation in integrity goes together with the second desired characteristic, ethicality. Leading with integrity means being honest, and ethical; you tell the truth, and you do what you say you will do. There are famous “leaders” across all industries and vocations that thrived temporarily but have bitten the dust because of their dishonest values.
In addition to honesty and ethicality, years of experience shows the best leaders embody two other characteristics: integrity and caring. Integrity involves living a life that is genuine and honest. It is an internal value about how to interact with others in a positive and forthright manner. Caring is about treating all people with dignity and respect. Therefore, they trust you and give their best working with you. Certainly, genuine leaders truly focus on helping other people become successful.
Pulling It All Together
In conclusion, integrity is in great demand. Unfortunately, too few leaders embody these values. More and more, companies have had to create ethical statements as guidelines for behavior in the workplace. Doing business, the right way is becoming more crucial than being the best. After all, if you are dishonest, it affects the trust you have in your relationships with employees, stakeholders, and customers alike. Furthermore, it erodes the foundation of your inner conscience. In sum, the #1 leadership characteristic ultimately will divide the leaders from the great leaders. Remember, leaders take people to where they want to go, while great leaders take people to where they ought to be and do it with integrity.
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