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Leadership Not Buzzwords

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 4/11/2015 Alanea Kowalski
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"We are going to re-purpose and monetize our big data paradigm so that it resonates with investors and provides a robust, seamless and transparent approach to our business model."
"Your authentic leadership team is passionate about working with all of you."
Does this sound familiar? Do you know what it means?
How many meetings have you sat through where someone is throwing around buzzwords, everyone else is sagely nodding their heads, and no one knows what anyone just said?
If you've ever felt this way you are not alone.
A recent study by Accountemps says that:
"However trendy, meaningless jargon tends to confuse workers, which means that no matter how brilliant the boss's idea is, it may never gain traction if no one can decipher what the boss is saying".
Real leadership doesn't need buzz words like authentic leadership, servant leadership, and transformational leadership. These are an integral part of being a leader.
Working for over 20 years as a coach with leaders I have come to appreciate that the best ones have a number of traits in common, and they can be described in plain words.
Self-awareness: these leaders have spent time and effort on understanding who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, how other people perceive them, and they understand that "they are a work in progress". They are clear on their values and model them in the work environment.
If you understand yourself, then it's much easier to understand how to work with others. And you do have to work successfully with others. As a coach this is often the starting point of our work together...the foundation for everything else.
Focus: Above all Leaders Focus. They have a vision and want to make a difference. They are able to move towards their goal, while still gathering and balancing changing data. They stay in the present, while knowing what is going on around them.
Their focus inspires the people who work with them to achieve great things.
Focus on your strengths and the strengths of your team.
"Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror."
Colin Powell
Common sense: when I worked in executive search the first trait I always looked for was common sense. To me it's gold. This is the person who looks at things from a variety of perspectives, balances the options, and makes a well thought out decision. This is someone who never gets you into trouble by doing something stupid or rash.
Good judgment: is very similar to common sense. For me the difference is that good judgment comes from experience and knowledge. So while common sense can be referred to as innate, judgment includes learning and experience.
For example, if I tell you that you will become a great Leader after working with me as a coach for 5 minutes, it's common sense to question that outcome. With good judgment you would have enough experience to know that it's unlikely to happen after 5 minutes.
"Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment."
Mark Twain
Lifelong Learning: Leaders know that you always have to keep learning, to move forward, to be ahead of the competition, to try new things. To gain perspective and clarity you need distance. You have to step back to see the whole picture.
Leaders use techniques such as exercise, meditation, retreats, and thinking time to ensure that they can continue to be the best they can that they can LIVE LEARN LEAD.

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