True Leaders Have Excellent Interpersonal Skills

March 1, 2012

True leaders have well-honed “people” skills birthed from their ability to relate to, respect, and empathize with others. In addition, they have solid communication skills that allow them to inspire others to action. Combined, these skills allow true leaders develop and foster solid, long-term, working relationships within and outside of their organizations.

Key to their success is their own self-awareness and understanding of the impact their statements and their actions have on others. In addition, they’re good listeners who take into account others’ (yes, even subordinates’) concerns and perspectives. They build trust as a result of their reliability and authenticity—since what they say they will do, gets done.

They also bear in mind the needs and goals of others, and work with them collaboratively to help ensure each others’ success. They display a sensitivity in working with people from diverse backgrounds, and treat everyone with caring and courtesy. As a result, they’re able to build teams characterized by trust, involvement, and empowerment—leading to the development of a high-performance organization.

Finally, they use their skills in developing pragmatic, process-oriented solutions that cross traditional department boundaries and foster organization-wide consistency and cooperation.

When it comes to true leaders. . . it’s kind of easy to know them when you see them—and it’s a joy to work for and support them.

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area


True Leaders Exhibit Emotional Intelligence

November 18, 2010

True leaders realize that it’s not just what they do, but how they do it, that determines how effective they will be as a leader. True leaders are emotionally intelligent leaders—and as a result they are self-aware, know their strengths and weaknesses, and connect with their people. They are also able to maintain a flexible and optimistic leadership style, show an active interest in others’ perspectives and emotions, and guide and inspire others with a clear and compelling vision. In addition, they easily develop and maintain the cross-organizational bonds that are so critical to the success of a broader mission.

The ability of an emotionally intelligent leader to sense what others feel and to understand their perspectives allows them to develop and communicate a truly inspiring vision. Under the guidance of an emotionally intelligent leader, people feel appreciated, they are willing to share ideas, they enjoy learning from each other, they make decisions collaboratively, and they just plain get things done. They feel their work is more meaningful because they understand that their efforts contribute to the broader good of the team and the overall benefit of the organization—an organization they respect and are proud to be a part of.

True leaders create a type of resonance, a resonance the causes a passion and enthusiasm to resound throughout the group.  Whenever major concerns crop up, these emotionally intelligent leaders use empathy to attune to the emotions of the people they lead, and they use that awareness to help move the team in a positive emotional direction.

Leaders who lack emotional intelligence are not true leaders, as their lack of awareness of and concern for the feelings of others creates a level of dissonance that often becomes the group’s preoccupation and deflects their attention from the mission at hand.

In Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, published in 2002 by Harvard Business School Press, Daniel Goleman (author of the international bestseller Emotional Intelligence) teamed with renowned emotional intelligence researchers Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee to explore the role of emotional intelligence in leadership. In their own words, “If a leader resonates energy and enthusiasm, an organization thrives; if a leader spreads negativity and dissonance, it flounders.”

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area

True Leaders Are People of Integrity

June 23, 2010

John W. Marriott III, Executive VP for Marriott International, Inc., once said, “When asked what qualities we are seeking in future leaders of Marriott, I’m quick to list the characteristics we admire: customer-focused, diligent, intelligent, caring, and the list goes on. But, here’s the reality: a person must have integrity. If they don’t, they won’t last long in our organization. Integrity is the most important attribute a successful associate, manager or executive can possess. And yet, it seems that people with a strong set of principles are among the hardest to find. When we do find people with integrity, we keep them, we promote them, and we ask them to lead others. In other words, integrity works.”

True leaders understand that it is essential that they lead with integrity, because people follow people they trust.  If they make a mistake they don’t cover it up or blame someone else—they admit it. If they make a commitment to a an employee, colleague, or superior—they keep it.

The word integrity stems from the Latin adjective, integer (meaning whole or complete). Synonyms for integrity include: candor, forthrightness, goodness, honesty, honorableness, and incorruptibility.

Why is integrity so important? Because lack of integrity in a leader immediately causes others (both inside and outside the organization) to lose trust in them; and it’s character-based trust that binds people (including spouses) to each other. Just as soldiers follow leaders they trust into battle, especially those who are willing to “take point” (i.e., assume the most exposed position),  employees follow leaders they trust.

True leaders know that trust is essential to maintaining high morale in an organization, and that lack of trust destroys morale and motivation. As Dr. Henry Cloud, clinical psychologist and corporate consultant, said in his 2009 book entitled, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, a lack of integrity is bound to result in failure in three key areas:
1. Hitting a performance ceiling that is much lower than ones aptitude
2. Hitting an obstacle or situation that derails you
3. Reaching great success only to self destruct and lose it all.

As people of integrity, true leaders are willing to take “unpopular” stands and are willing to say, “No,” when doing so is the only ethical choice. W. Clement Stone shared this admonition, “Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area