Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Makes A Good Leader?

   Here at The Sabot School of Etiquette, we touch on leadership and include a few tips in our written materials we send home with each student. We famously say: "Leaders always make others feel special." What makes a good leader? What makes a great leader? Let's start with the basics.
  • Leaders always make others feel special. Leaders make the other person feel as though they have been heard. Leaders make the other person feel like the only person in the room.
  • Leaders lead by example. If you as a leader do one thing and say another, your followers are listening to lip service. Lip service leads to mistrust.  
  • Leaders know ignorance is no excuse. As children, we make excuses because we are learning and our parents give us a childhood of chances so we may learn year by year to make good decisions for ourselves. As adults, we cannot say we did not know. As adults, it is our responsibility to know.
  • Learning to be a leader, if you do not fail a few times, you are not trying hard enough. You may not be making competent, correct decisions for yourself. Failing is good for us because failing forces us to reevaluate our positions and decisions, and move on. 
  • Leaders do not blame other people. Blaming other people for your position in life is ignorant and gets you no where. We all make 1000 different decisions every day about how we are going to live our own lives. So, whatever your issue is, it's not your fault. OK, then what? What are you going to DO about it? How are you going to overcome your non-idyllic circumstance? What is your plan to raise yourself out of your circumstance and move forward in your life?  
  • Leaders are always positive. If you try never to say anything negative, no one can say you said something negative. Think about it. Let's face it, who wants to be around someone who is negative and condescending all the time? Don't we all, rather, want to be around someone who is positive? 
   Leading is very hard. It is most challenging. Leading is difficult on a daily basis. Every day, you must wake up ready to make your 1000 decisions and make your case to accomplish your tasks, listen and hear, compromise and compliment, take criticism and kindly give constructive criticisms. It has been said if you ask 20 people in a room what they think, you will get 20 different answers. Taking those 20 different answers and making a plan forward requires diligence, diplomacy and discipline.
   We all look to our leaders to be better than we are. We may at times look to our leaders for guidance. We may see some of our leaders we can best relate to as role models. Who are your role models?