Date Added: March 2010
Note: This article appeared in the March 21, 2010 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.
February’s article discussed “humility of leadership.” Many contacted me wanting to know more. This article provides more detail about leadership traits, specifically inspirational leadership and choosing someone to emulate.
While humility may be the No. 1 leadership skill, there are six other important leadership traits. Lead by example (do what you say you’re going to do) sets your leadership tone. When done well, it is the first step for others to follow. Second, seek to improve self, company, and those around you. Leaders continuously improve.
Third, foster collaboration and build trust. People want to be asked vs. told. Fourth, recognize others and show appreciation for accomplishments. There is no “I” in “team.” Fifth, take risks. When people take risks, they don’t always succeed. Leaders learn from failing, rather than succeeding.
Finally, inspire others. Inspiring others is much different than motivation. Motivation creates a short-term effect. When learning from a motivational leader you feel good, but forget things after a short time. Inspiration is longer-term. You may not feel as excited as with the motivational leader; however, you become more engaged and want to follow their lead because you realize you fit into their vision.
Local leader Larry Weyers, Integrys Energy Executive Chairman, is a leader to follow. He is quiet, reserved, classy, friendly, leads by example and inspires. When listening to him, one walks away inspired because you’ve just gained much wisdom.
Abraham Lincoln was inspirational – not motivational. He led by example, did what he said he was going to do, made deliberate decisions and inspired major change.
Another individual exemplifies all leadership qualities – specifically leading by example and inspiring others. A leader who had the utmost power and authority, yet chose to serve others. He spent a lifetime climbing down a ladder, while others define leadership as climbing up a ladder. Nearly 30 percent of the world’s population, approximately two billion people, will celebrate this leader two weeks from today (on Easter Sunday). He definitely inspires.
Model the behavior of good leaders. They are not concerned with ladders, title, power. Leadership is a choice. Leaders lead by choosing humility, inspiration, leading by example, etc. They move others to lead, succeed and serve.