I’ve been a part of the athletic footwear (sneaker) industry for three decades and I’ve been fortunate to work in Product Sourcing, Product Development, Product Innovation, Production, Marketing, Product Line Management, and Sales. It has been a very exciting experience that has taken me all over the world and allowed me to live in some pretty incredible places domestically and abroad.
I have been exposed to many Leaders and have been able to develop my own Leadership philosophy. Like most experiences I have been exposed to Ineffective Leaders and also some Effective Leaders. Let’s start with my observation of the Ineffective Leaders.
These “Leaders” are in place at times because of pre-existing wealth, connections, family pedigree, or some other luck of the draw. I have been an employee or consultant to several of those types of individuals and in those cases, I have been able to use that negative experience as a lesson in what not to incorporate into my personal leadership philosophy. Ultimately these are just individuals that are not qualified to Lead.
In my personal life, I have also been exposed to some of the same things that I described above. When it specifically comes to leadership, my business, and personal life oft-times blend, as my profession is one of my life passions.
This blend of business and personal experiences has also exposed me to several incredibly great leaders.
Let’s now delve a bit into some of the positive influence that Effective Leaders have had in my life.
Exposure to these Effective Leaders has allowed to me to work with, and for, many who have a penchant for:
- Team inclusion
- Inexhaustible drive
- Understanding of personal strengths/weaknesses allowing the construct of a strong team
- Business Development and Growth
- Personnel Development
- Development of Family
- Acceptance of the responsibility of being in a leadership role
- Assuming responsibility for the unavoidable, but rare poor, decisions
- Confidence to make well informed, well-thought out unwavering decisions.
I have learned from my experiences that there are definitely some born leaders in the world but I have also learned that via experience there are many who have developed effective leadership skills.
I believe the word “Leadership” is often confused or used as a synonym to “Boss.”
I have been in corporate and small business structures and have been a leader to some who have had titles above mine. I use this as an example as how effective leaders can exude the positive characteristics of leadership no matter where one may be in a business or personal situation.
2 Unusual Characteristics of Effective Leaders
Two of the things that I think aren’t often mentioned as characteristics of Effective leaders if ever, is approachability and believe it or not, comedy.
Effective Leaders Are Approachable
Approachability is key as all members of a structure need to feel connected and engaged in whatever the business or assignment may be. Whether it’s is a “Mom and Pop”, a small firm or major corporation, one should feel they are an integral part of of the organization. I think most have complained or have been complained to by an unhappy partner or team member. To address most of those complaints, the culture, and structure has to be constructed to promote productivity, promotion, and something that is equally important…happiness.
Effective Leaders Use Comedy to their Advantage
When money is involved in any situation, pressure is a partner. That’s where occasional comedy can be a great tool. Relieving stress and creating opportunities to bond are all a part of what some well-timed humor creates. If that’s not part of what a Leader brings to the table it should be something that the Leader should promote from one of the appropriate team members. It is very important however, that this is done responsibly.
Part of the role of a Leader is to surround yourself with people who have skillsets that are complementary to the Leader. As importantly, the team has to be comprised of individuals that are complementary to the overall team.
An Effective Leader Should Always:
- Have an “open door” policy
- Have the desire and ability to build strong teams
- Have a succession plan as strong teams lose people from time to time
- Be well informed on the top issues of related all disciplines
- Have the ability to look at situations from multiple perspectives
- Have a strong sense of applicable diplomacy
- Have exemplary resolve when it comes to problem solving
- Exude and execute a sense of best intentions of the overall team
- Be able to or facilitate someone to inject well-timed humor occasionally
Summarily, there is no perfect formula in how to be a Great Leader. However, I can assure you if your approach incorporates some of the things that I have described here one can be on the path to being an effective, and if fortunate, a Great Leader.
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