In my over 40 years of leadership experience at world-class global companies, and in my ongoing work teaching and coaching leaders from all over the country at various stages in their careers, I've developed a very clear point-of-view about what behaviors contribute to leadership that works.
That point-of-view is gleaned from my own leadership journey as well as hundreds of books on the topic and my observations of the other leaders in the marketplace. I've worked with many visionary, inspirational, and highly effective leaders. And I've been exposed to just as many who were out of their depth, short-sighted, or simply lacked the skill to get the job done in a quality and sustainable way. I've seen what works and what doesn't.
At a high-level, in a nutshell, I've observed that the very best leaders approach their work in a way that is tough-minded on standards and tender-hearted with people. They are experts at doing both; they deftly marry the "head" and the "heart." Masterfully, they can simultaneously prioritize people and performance — and do so in a way that is humble, brave, and authentic to who they really are.
But what does all that mean from a tactical standpoint? What are the practices that bring this larger idea of leadership that works to life? What do great leaders have in common?
In my experience, great leaders have seven important things in common. In those seven things, you'll find an equal balance of practices that are people-focused, and practices that are performance-oriented.