Thursday, October 17, 2013

Want to be a Stronger Leader?

One of the many things I do professionally is research.  Around the topic of Leadership, a while back, I put a research wheel in motion to find out what people want, need and expect today in those they will follow. 

In other words, I asked others to tell me what they look for in a leader they might actually be willing to go to work for and follow.

Without any doubt, the top traits my survey subjects told me they look for in a leader include:

TrustTrust Defined:  Assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something.
HonestyHonesty Defined:  Free from deception; truthful, genuine, real, reputable, credible
IntegrityIntegrity Defined:  Soundness; Adherence to a code of values, utter sincerity, honesty, candor

It seems to me that honesty is part of integrity and trust comes as a result of a leader operating with high integrity.

If you’re a leader today or you’re aspiring to be a leader in the future, one of the easiest things you can do to increase the odds that others will follow you is to make sure that your words and your actions connect. 

Not everyone pays attention to what others say but in my profession, one of the things I do with clients and candidates alike is to listen to what people say and then watch what people do.  If there is consistency between what people say and what they do, the chances of a solid business relationship forming are very good.

Alternatively, when words and actions are separated on small issues, odds are very high that for this person, words and actions will not match up when the stakes are higher either.  I’ve applied this theory to numerous past relationships.  Both good relationships and relationships that turned sour.

A leader who does not foster an environment of trust won’t be followed very long.  Assuming that you’re a leader in the first place and you’re aligned with a role you should be aligned with, one of the simplest things you can do that you have control over is to make sure that the expectations you verbally set closely align with the actions that follow the words.

People don’t always have to agree with you to follow you.  However, when people don’t trust you, they either won’t follow you at all or they won’t follow you for very long.

I’d enjoy hearing from you if you’re willing to tell me which 5 words come to mind when you think about traits you need to see in a leader.  

I’ll pool your answers with the anonymous research I’ve already done.  Over time, I’ll share the results of this research in the Security Recruiter Blog.'s Security Recruiter Blog