Become a Leader Others Want to Come Alongside Three Key Leadership Traits
Leadership at its essence is about becoming a person whom others want to come alongside. If successful, capable people don’t want to join me for whatever reason, I have failed in my leadership. So my personal goal is to daily become a better human being and leader, to become more and more the kind of person others want to work with, work for, and journey with. And I emphasize becoming because it is a process.
So what leadership traits draw people in to us? There are likely hundreds. But I will share three of the most important ones that help me on the road to becoming.
Of course we should be kind. But so many of us miss that. Plainly stated, no one likes a jerk.
A while back, a very successful man came to give me advice. Yet he was so pompous and offensive. His attitude completely overshadowed his message. Then as I introduced him to a close person in my circle, he didn’t even look up from his phone for several awkward seconds. If I wasn’t aware of my own feelings and able to demonstrate restraint, I would have kicked him out.
I am past the place in my life of taking things personally, but I thought to myself, How can people have such little emotional intelligence? How can people be so insensitive and inconsiderate?
Well it happens. And I understand we all have our flaws. I know there may be good reasons for such behaviors, sometimes even medical ones. But I also know if we are not aware of how we come across to others, if we are not caring and respectful, we will not go far in leadership.
Simply, be kind.
I also had a recent conversation with a close friend who holds a key position at the world-renowned MD Anderson. We were talking about leadership and humility and she told me, “Wes, it’s amazing how the biggest doctors, the department heads, the chairmen of divisions, and the big shots there are the most humble people.” I was happy to hear that. And surprised.
I want to follow leaders who are positive and hopeful. Not whiners. Not people who are always ready to give up on themselves and others. I want to follow leaders who are optimistic, who believe we can make a difference, who encourage people to chase their dreams. I want to follow people who are sunny.
And friend, our people want that from us. If your overall attitude is one of defeat and gloom, people will not want to come alongside you and support the dream. We must be diligent to keep a positive attitude as leaders.
Getting Things Done
Someone recently told me, “Everyone has an ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.” It’s not the dream that counts, nor the plans, nor the big strategy. We all want to follow leaders who get things done, deliver results, and provide for us. May you and I become such leaders. Not talkers. But doers. And not only doers, but finishers.
The list of traits could go on. But the important things leaders should chase after are becoming and growing. Becoming who you were meant to be and growing into a person others want to be close to and follow. Remember, at its essence leadership is about becoming a person whom others want to come alongside.
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