Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham has been leading teams for more than 30 years and understands deeply the needs of others, and what it means to be a leader that can be trusted She knows what she is doing, how to get others to join in the cause and how to move to action, doing the right thing. Enjoy Laura’s comments about High Impact Leaders…those who are enlightened.

Key Characteristics of Enlightened Leadership

I have always liked this quote from the book Enlightened Leadership by Ed Oakley and Doug Krug.
“The key lies in showing those who would be change agents how to capitalize on their organization’s greatest asset: the under-utilized talent, expertise, and energy of its existing staff.”

There are key characteristics which determine the difference between average leaders and enlightened leaders. I recently read an article that resonated with me because of the characteristics mentioned. I would like to share the key characteristics from this article and ask you to take a minute and see if you agree.

Enlightened leaders should have these four key characteristics because without them they cannot build a sustainable culture. The characteristics are:

1. Character – who are you and what do you stand for
Enlightened leaders must be trusted to make the right decisions and do the right thing, especially during difficult situations. Character in leaders develops trust and respect, not only from their teams, but many times from their competition. Trust and respect translates into excellence. Excellence expects more from the leader and the people they lead. People with character genuinely care about the people they work with; they lead with concern, helpfulness, support and compassion.

2. Competence – the ability to do something successfully or efficiently
Take a moment and ask yourself specifically what areas are you competent in and what areas do you need resources and support? An enlightened leader never stops learning. If they do, then the followers stop following. Why you ask? The answer is simple; why follow someone who has stopped learning and growing and that you can’t learn anything from. An enlightened leader’s knowledge, skills and experience support their competencies and help them develop a vision. To be the best at what they do takes time and starts with first figuring out what they aren’t the best at doing.

3. Collaboration – Working with others to build strong partnerships
Knowing individual strengths and weaknesses are the first step in collaboration, but even more critical is building a leadership team that supports and complements each other. That translates into forming strong partnerships and collaborating with others in your field and industry to ensure successful outcomes.

4. Courage – facing and overcoming fear
How far are you willing to go to make your vision a reality? Changing a business, revolutionizing an industry or challenging the status quo is difficult. Having the courage and staying the course because you see something others don’t, is courage. Being able to establish something new and maybe even innovative, but at minimum better, is what having courage is about. Do you have a vision that’s more important than your fears?

Enlightened leadership absolutely involves having Character, Competence, Collaboration and Courage. But the enlightened leader is able to use those characteristics to capitalize on their organization’s greatest asset: PEOPLE.

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