I often use a quote from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “To become a meaningful participant, you must get a seat at the table.” It makes sense that we must take some level of risk, and do something to contribute to the success of our organization. In other words, standing on the sidelines will accomplish nothing. We must participate.
Here recently, I heard Matthews discuss the leadership qualities that he finds important. While his discussion focused on the current political candidates, the attributes are equally applicable to those of us in the business community.
Quality #1: Motive
Matthews was adamant that a great leader “must stand for something.” What are you trying to accomplish? Where do you see a gap that you wish to bridge? How do you plan to make a difference? Until you can express to others why they should believe in you, nothing happens.
A leader is not a manager. The people who run the organization are far-sighted, continually focused on maximizing shareholder’s wealth, opening new markets, and providing unparalleled customer support. A manager, on the other hand, takes a tactical approach. These individuals create processes, teach those steps to others, and perform quality checks. The leaders ensure that the processes are aligned with organizational strategy, which means they will yield long-term results.
Quality #2: Passion
Matthews states that passion in leaders is described as “what brings out the emotions, and what drives their spirit.” You must know what excites you, and what will keep you going even when obstacles arise. If you are easily discouraged when a challenge arises, you lack the passion for that activity, work, and even for your career success.
You must continually search for meaningful work. If you often awake before your alarm clock sounds because of your excitement to reach your office, you have passion for what you do. Passionate people have a difficult time accepting failure. Instead, they look for different…