Our founder and CEO, Jerry Houston, has been in management and leadership roles for over 45 years, and has learned some things to do (and not to do) during those four-plus decades. Leading and Managing is personal. It has to do with your view of what makes for a good leader or manager….and the job doesn’t get easier in this, the 21st Century. Clients demand more for less and want it faster. Employees, and especially the millennial generation, want much more than just a paycheck from work. In this week’s Power Idea, Jerry shares with us some of the collected wisdom and experience of his time in leadership and management.

…leaders are those people who ‘walk ahead,’ people who are genuinely committed to deep
change in themselves and in their organizations.” -Peter Senge

Truer words were never spoken, and I want you all to take a moment to paint a mental picture of someone you hold in high regards as a leader or manager. Pay attention to their appearance, actions, habits and life style. When your picture comes into sharp focus, ask yourself these questions:

* What specific skills and characteristics does this person possess?
* How does this person relate to others personally, professionally and socially?
* What does this person do that elicits respect and admiration?

When you have answered the questions above, ask yourself one more question: Was this leader born with such well-developed leadership traits? The quick answer is NO! Factors such as being a good communicator, motivator, mentor or coach are developed. Executing on the vision and strategies of the organization, mobilizing the team, and generating enthusiasm, commitment and creating a motivating environment are all learned skills. Leaders are made… not born.

One of the basic ingredients of successful leadership or management is knowing when to lead, when to follow, and when to encourage self-leadership. Leadership involves persuading others to accomplish goals. As a leader or manager your role involves:

* Establishing or executing vision
* Effectively communicating vision to others on your team
* Persuading others to be committed to realizing the vision
* Clarifying values
* Exhibiting behaviors consistent with these values
* Determining strategies
* Focusing on long-term direction
* Challenging the status quo
* Doing the right things
* Aligning resources that help your team accomplish the objectives

Now, armed with this information, and with the ideal leader picture you developed, let’s turn the spotlight on YOU! Do you possess the qualities of great leadership that we have discussed in this Power Idea? How do you rate yourself in each of these factors? What is your plan for acquiring the necessary skills to improve your ability to lead and manage? Do you realize that it is up to you to take charge of your own developmental improvement, enabling you to move forward in your career and to be the kind of leader or manager that you would want to work for?

(I want to thank my friends at Resource Associates Corporation of Reading, PA., for their excellent work in developing solid curriculums, from which some of this week’s ideas were drawn.)