The most effective leaders who consistently achieve and surpass organization, team, and individual performance goals and objectives do not achieve their success by chance or good fortune. As a retired Coast Guard Captain, aviator, and operational planner, my own experience reveals that successful leadership requires compelling attention to the daily practice of five key power habits that contribute to building outstanding leader qualities and balanced leadership.
- The Power of Situational Awareness:
Regardless of your leadership level in a public, private, or non-profit sector, establishing and maintaining clear situational awareness is a must for long-term success as a leader at any level. Thinking about and examining internal, external, local, regional, and global issues to maximize your sources of valuable business and human intelligence is vital. A regular review of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) is a powerful tool to build an effective leadership lens.
- The Power of Passion:
Most of us need to work to make a living to support ourselves, our families, and communities, but working for leaders who value and express the power of passion, excitement, and hope bring the daily work experience to an amazingly positive level. Passionate leaders frequently hold positions in companies that magazines feature as the best places to work. Leadership, like attitude, is a choice, and leaders who habitually embody passion, joy, hope, and excitement ignite a powerful force in themselves and people around them. The power habit of passion is essential for extraordinarily effective leadership.
- The Power of Planning:
The very best leaders understand and practice the art and science of regular planning in their organizations, teams, and individual lives. Establishing an organization’s vision, mission, and strategy are essential parts of taking decisive action to achieve success. But, the most successful leaders value the collaboration and effort it takes to plan routine and critical events at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. Regular planning forces leaders and employees to carefully consider a range of potential choices and important internal and external issues to ensure their ship has a successful voyage, and the goals are achieved. Professional and highly effective leaders practice the power habit of planning.
- The Power of Appreciation:
Leaders who routinely say “thank you” to their employees in a timely and sincere manner, preferably face-to-face, build a reservoir of good will and positive energy that strengthens high performers, fellow employees, and leaders themselves. Recognizing people for their actions, contributions, and performance through informal and formal methods is an absolute must for all successful leaders. The power of appreciation is a tangible and lasting way to show that you pay attention, you care about people, and you value performance. So get up and walk-around, or send a thank you note or e-mail, and make expressing genuine thanks a daily power habit.
- The Power of Renewal:
The physical, mental, and emotional demands on leaders in today’s complex and demanding environment is constant and requires us to establish sound stress management habits that refresh, renew, and replenish our focus, energy, balance, and health through the power habit of renewal. The rejuvenating benefits from meditation, fitness activities, prayer, socialization, adequate rest, and healthy nutrition are indispensable for maintaining effective leadership.
Wayne Brown is a principal analyst of homeland security with the SI Organization, and a retired Coast Guard Captain. He is also a doctoral student in the Ph.D./D.B.A. program in values-driven leadership.
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