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Six Traits Agile Leaders Must Have

These qualities can increase a leader’s ability to meet the ever-increasing demands of today’s business environment.

January 23, 2013
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Related Topics: Leadership Development, Performance Management, Learning Delivery, Assessment, Learning Delivery, Leadership Development, Measurement, Performance Management
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Leaders in today’s complex business environment must be agile to be able to respond to their workers’ needs and motivations. Here are six traits agile leaders must have.

Champion: A champion builds the organization’s brand by his or her power to connect socially. He or she is the face of the organization and is vocal concerning the capabilities of the organization in relation to its products, services and people.

To accomplish this, champions must demonstrate social dexterity; they must have the ability to conduct themselves in a variety of social situations with authenticity and ease. To develop this quality, leaders develop communication, presentation and social skills.

Achieve: Achievers deliver consistent results to the organization through strategy and execution. They are known for having a clear sense of not only what needs to be done, but how it needs to get done, and they are willing to get in the trenches if necessary to be successful.

Strategy is only as good as the ability to execute. Achievers place the right people in the right place at the right time with the right resources. Achievers also communicate strategy, connecting it from the boardroom to the break room. Achievers tirelessly monitor execution, making adjustments as necessary in an ever-changing environment.

Guide: Leaders guide by giving direction, providing coaching and counseling their people, as well as by giving clear direction and setting clear performance expectations. Guides invest time to understand what is needed by the people they lead to provide coaching that will be meaningful and appreciated.

Guides use constant encouragement and continuous feedback as a means to create a dialogue between themselves and the people who are critical to their success. This quality requires leaders to develop an ability to communicate clearly when providing work direction, to learn how to receive and give feedback, and to cultivate an environment where feedback is desired.

Bond: Bonding is directly related to a leader being respected and trusted. When leaders bond with the people they lead and influence, everything becomes easier. Bonding occurs when leaders create interpersonal connections and relationships with others. To bond requires leaders to seek opportunities to engage with those they lead and influence.

What is of concern to team members? What do they think of the organization’s direction? What improvements do team members have to offer to the organization? Where do team members believe they can make a contribution?

Unite: Leaders unite by creating collaborative networks and seeking opportunities to pool diverse talents and perspectives . They unite the organization and communicate how vital each member is to its success.

This is accomplished by leaders telling individual team members how important their work is to goal achievement. Take the time to connect their contributions to the wider organizational goals.

Excite: Individuals want to be proud of not only where they work, but who they work for. Leaders excite through their actions and interactions. Also, leaders’ actions must be consistent with their message. They must demonstrate excitement by honoring commitments and providing support for people to be successful.

If they themselves are not excited, no one else will be. Leaders must generate excitement first before they can ignite passion in those they lead.

Larry R. Nordhagen is author of A.R.T.ful Leadership: The Path to be Admired, Respected and Trusted as a Leader. He can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.

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