Two Things Leaders Should Be

In an earlier post, I discussed two phrases leaders should genuinely say to their people as often as possible. In addition to saying those two phrases, there are a couple of things an effective and transformational leader should also be.

The role of leaders and managers is evolving – and it must. Future generations of the workforce will be much more social and networked and will not respond well (if at all) in a command-and-control hierarchy. I believe we are already seeing some of this shift towards network-building leaders occurring within some organizations such as Zappos, Spotify, Valve and others.

To be a part of this movement and participate in the evolution of the transformational leadership needed in these fast-paced and competitive times, a leader must begin taking steps to be:

Visionary. Most people want to work on something bigger than themselves. They want to be a part of a something exciting. As a leader begins to craft and communicate a vision, anticipation begin to build around what the future may bring and a network of teams begins to rally around the vision. This will require breaking away from day-to-day decision making and allowing those closest to the action to make those decisions in real-time. Quite honestly, the alternative is to be a task-master or controlling leader and they are becoming easily replaced and interchangeable.

Human. When leaders and managers are authentically themselves, a connection begins to form between the visionary and those who will work to make the vision a reality. This connection cannot be underrated and will begin to establish the trust necessary for a nimble, networked, and flexible organization to exist. And without the trust of your people, your vision is meaningless.

By developing your ability to establish and communicate vision (providing direction and aspiration) and humanity (providing a place where people feel valued and trusted), you will begin to notice an empowered tribe of people begin to emerge.

To determine if I’m being visionary and human enough I often ask myself one question, “Would they notice if I was gone?” And I mean notice in a good way. If the honest answer is no, I have not made a human connection with people or provided a vision anyone would want to carry on.


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2 thoughts on “Two Things Leaders Should Be

  1. Good post Len. I agree with your first point. A leader needs vision. For Point #2, agree that all the best leaders are human, but so are the worst one….:-). A few other words come to mind Value-Centered, Authentic, Rooted, Server, but the one that I think I like the most is CONSCIOUS. Leaders are Conscious Visionaries. Disclosure: Len and I work together at the same company