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Article -> Hallmark of Great Leaders

Date Added: April 2018

On leadership, business author Jim Collins said, You have to be able to prove that your company does not need you. If your company cannot be great without you it is not yet a great company. The test as to whether it is a great company is it does not need you.

Given the arrogance of many business leaders who believe the exact opposite; that organizations are only great because of them, this is startling. Yet, Collins statement is completely true as this is the trait of great leaders and organizations.

Do leaders shift authority from themselves to others, knowing when they need to delegate more? Ultimately, organizations should become less reliant on them so others can make decisions.

Are leaders tapping into others to continue their own learning and development; or do they think they are the smartest person in the room? Have leaders sought out a good advisory board and/or strong leadership team to bounce ideas off, exchange dialogue, challenge thinking, and learn?

Do leaders have a culture of trust and empowerment with employees so employees can make decisions and mistakes to learn and develop? Do employees understand they can openly and freely communicate with leadership, having ownership in organizational decisions and strategy? Are leaders comfortable with their opinions and thoughts being challenged or overruled by others based on valid rationale?

Are leaders still aligned with the mission and values; or has the organization changed so much causing misalignment? Have leaders lost control of the culture (think of an athletic team whose athletes simply do not give full support of their coach (i.e. the coach has lost the locker room.).

Unfortunately, too many leaders believe organizations are dependent upon them and fear being away, because if an organization does not need them, they will not have a job. They place their job and compensation above the needs of the organization and employees. Completely the opposite of great leadership.

Over the past several years, I have taken annual vacations ranging from 2 to 4 weeks (yes, I once took a month off). Most peers and others wondered how I could take so much time away. Did I not have enough to do? Did I not care? If the team did not need me, would I lose my job? Why was I needed as a leader?

Fortunately, my team understands the only reason I am able to take this much time away is because they are fantastic. They can handle decisions, work with each other, communicate with other leaders, and be successful. While I played a role in coaching, mentoring and trusting them; ultimately, they rose to the occasion.

I am available if the team needs me; and while I check emails, I only respond if absolutely necessary while on vacation. I once responded to an email while on vacation and my manager replied, Enjoy vacation. We got this. Very reassuring and caring of her to allow me to enjoy vacation.

This is the essence of leadership and having a great team. Collins further posed, Are you going to be historically exceptional, or are you going to be someone where it was great when you were there; and then it goes away?

This epitomizes humility, and heart and soul inspired leadership. Leaders not investing time to prepare their teams to operate successfully without them, are those whose time should be done.

Have the courage to know things will continue to be successful, and ideally grow, in your absence. This is the indication of great leaders, teams and organizations.

David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at david@unique-solutionsinc.com.
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