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What Makes an Exceptional Leader- 5 Qualities of Great Leaders

What Makes an Exceptional Leader- 5 Qualities of Great Leaders

A personal example of leading for results came about when I took a new assignment as a VP of Sales and Marketing for small software company that was in a turnaround stage. My challenge was integrating newly acquired sales and marketing force as well as integrating the international sales force. After meeting with all my International Directors I learned that his company had been through much turnover and the previous management team had a reputation of bleeding organizations through massive layoffs, splitting the company up and selling the parts.  Needless to say the challenges were great as the employees were in a state of fear and the organization was paralyzed.  

I immediately reported back to the executive team (which I was a member of) and as a team we implemented a massive communication program from the CEO’s State of The Company Monthly Updates, To each executive team member traveling to every part of his or hers organization and delivering open communication on company vision, mission, and commitment to employees who were performing.  Our mission was to have as many reasons to gather as they employees would feel comfortable with, such as breakfast, lunch and after hour meetings as appropriate. 

We wanted them to feel free to open up and be part of the solution with their ideas and input.  I set up a reward and recognition system that was open and fair to all cross functional teams not just the sales teams. 

We rewarded the behavior that we wanted and that was openness and trust.  In addition we open the corporate books so employees could see where their performance was and how it affected the bottom line.  We even gave them training on basic financial management principles.   The company did reinvent itself and the stock went up over 400% in little over a year.  But more importantly the leaders of the company learned some valuable lessons about servant hood leadership:  

1.     Servant Leaders are Highly Communicative – Communication Is Key – Always error on the side of too much.  Find ways to get the organization together and communication the company vision and mission, welcome employee input  
2.     Servant Leaders Are Collaborative not Competitive – Trust is earned by employees feeling empowered and informed  
3.     Servant Leaders Give Rewards and Recognition – Everyone wants to be recognized for their valuable contributions.  Reward and measure the behavior you want.  
4.     Servant Leaders Give Credit – Servant leaders always give credit to team successes and take full responsibility for crisis.  
5.     Servant Leaders will produce bottom line results a trust, honesty, integrity and openness will be modeled by the entire organization.    

As we move into the next generation of leaders it is imperative that we do things different then we have in the past. With examples that such as Enron, WorldCom and the recent banking crisis it is time for a new breed of leadership that puts others over themselves and lead with integrity and honesty. Doing what is right is not a sometimes action it is an all the time action.