However, I can’t resist connecting the Presidential dots. After all, the debate forum is perhaps the most visible litmus test for candidates who hope to lead the free world. It’s an executive-level job interview on a national scale. And the #TChat community knows more than a thing or two about how to attract, retain and develop great talent. So who better to outline America’s leadership requirements than our tribe?
Although we didn’t frame the discussion in political terms, there was plenty of wisdom shared about leadership qualities that matter most – not just for those who aspire to be President, but for anyone who wants to spearhead an organization, team or initiative.
(NOTE: For session highlights directly from the #TChat stream, see the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)
What Does a Good Leader Look Like?
Last week, we offered a framework based on action…
“Leading is learning. Learning is doing. And doing is knowing. So do.”
This speaks to two factors: consistency and visibility. Good leadership is as unique as the individuals who carry that responsibility. But continuity within an individual leader is mission critical. Otherwise followers risk losing their bearings, especially in fluid, unpredictable environments. Second, leaders must have a high tolerance for transparency – especially in a world that’s digitally connected and socially engaged. Word doesn’t just travel fast these days – it travels at light speed. As high-profile examples have proven in recent years, there are no hiding places for leaders who are less than authentic.
Not to suggest that perfection is the goal. Great leaders aren’t super heroes. They’re human beings. They’re a work in progress. Leaders are vulnerable to missteps, blind spots and lapses in judgment. But it’s how they deal with failure – their own and those around them – that often sets leaders apart.
Do Good Leaders Make a Real Difference?
We can talk endlessly about the benefits of working with leaders who are driven by character. But what does it actually mean for the bottom line?
“Research shows there is a direct connection between employee engagement and retention and long term profits.” via Don Shapiro
We’ve all known examples of those who’ve led through greed, intimidation or even incompetence. But that’s not a sustainable model – especially in workplace ecosystems, where market forces ultimately decide an organization’s fate. Poor leadership jeopardizes immediate performance. Moreover, it has implications for long-term business viability. Consider this recent item from Corporate Responsibility Magazine: “Companies with Bad Reputations Shunned Even by Unemployed Workers.” Ouch.
So, it seems that leading with character is not just a good idea. It is actually good business. Of course, it’s also good governance for nations everywhere. I, for one, hope our nation’s future leaders agree.
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Highlights & What’s Ahead on #TChat
For more insights from the stream, watch the highlight slideshow below.
Also, if you’re a blogger, and this #TChat session inspired you to write about leadership, we’re happy to share your thoughts with others! Just post a link on Twitter (at #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll add it to our archives. There are many voices in the #TChat community – with many ideas worthy of sharing. So let’s capture as many of them as possible!
Yesterday’s session only scratched the surface of the leadership equation. In coming months, we look forward to drilling down, with deeper discussions around sidebar topics that emerged in yesterday’s exchange. Stay tuned!
SPECIAL THANKS to Susan Mazza (@SusanMazza), founder of Random Acts of Leadership and thanks to other co-authors of The Character Based Leader who joined the discussion! Developed as a collaborative effort by the Lead Change Group, this book represents the collective wisdom of 21 professionals who not only talk leadership talk, but have walked the walk across corporate environments. Their ideas and inspiration come from real-world scenarios – and are worthy of our attention.
We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday at 7pmET/4pmPT for another #TChat. Next week’s topic: “HR Moving at the Speed of Business.” Look for the Preview next Monday via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Enjoy your weekend!
@SocialMediaSean OK I didn’t do the huge hair today so this is what you get. My #Tchat game face! http://yfrog.com/odhotlcjLara Zuehlke
Live from the Hilton Garden inn Atlanta #tchat #hotelwine http://pic.twitter.com/xeoMLhXpShawn LaCroix
My dog, Paul, all chilled out for #TChat. http://pic.twitter.com/SPltdR5mJocelyn Aucoin
Q1: Have our expectations of people in positions of #leadership changed in terms of their skills, approaches, values, etc.? #tChatSusan Mazza
A1 The dramatic rise in the speed of change demands more from leaders than ever before. #Leadchange #leadrev #tchatDon Shapiro
A1: To be effective a leader must have influence with out influence we’re only left with a dictator. I’ve had a couple! #TChatRobert Rojo
Q1: I believe we are heading towards a new area where the sheer transparency in communication and will demand ethical leadership #tchatIrene Becker
A1: Leaders need to become masters of their egos. Be able to catch when ego interferes w/decision making. #tchatTony Vengrove
A1: Position no longer carries as much “automatic” influence as it once did. You have to earn it. #tChatSusan Mazza
A1: Title does not “entitle”! #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A1. Our expectations have changed. We want then to not only lead but inspire and engage too. #tchatSabrina Baker
Q2: Does the character of an org’s leaders & staff matter to the bottom line? Why or why not? #TChatSusan Mazza
A2 we have to be affected by character based leadership. I don’t want to work in a morale vacuum. #tchatKeith Punches
Q2: Without character, the bottom line suffers. Just look at Enron. #Integrity is everything & #leaders set the tone. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A2: The collective character of an organization’s leaders can impact employee actions & even public perception. #tchatSalary School
A2: Character emanates from integrity – a lack of integrity in any dimension leaves an organization vulnerable to bad choices. #tChatSusan Mazza
A2: Leadership is not only responsibility, but Character. #TChatNissrine Ghannoum
A2: There’s a reason that shareholders vote on who gets to be in charge. #TChatMatt Charney
A2 Yes! Character influences behavior and culture. Trust built from that btwn clients/org fosters growth. #tchatEricka Lozano-Buhl
A2: Prospects buy from like minded culture vendors #tchatKane Frisby
Q3: What might character look like in the actions of positional leaders and others who choose to #lead through influence? #TChatSusan Mazza
Q3 – Leaders who listen & hear what rank and file say about workplace culture. If People are the drivers, they must have voice. #TChatJudy Martin
Q3 Good leadership comes in many forms but is easy to identify. Look not at the leader, but the level of motivation of the community #tchatValerie Merahn Simon
A3. Leaders as transformational forces, constantly engaging, motivating, encouraging others and self. #tchatMichael Clark
Q3: The actions of a leader are those that reflect the integrity of the organization. #tchatAndrae Rock Parker
A3: Assuming character. Positional leaders are present leaders and influential ones get the org where it should be tomorrow. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3 An honest character – admitting when mistakes are made and giving credit where it is due is essential in leadership. #tchatBusiness.com
A3: Consistent actions that align with values. #tchatJen Olney
Q4. How can leaders nurture and reward character in staff and other #leaders to have a positive impact? #TChatSusan Mazza
A4: The best reward is respect, trust and open communication. The “Golden Rule” applies to business as well. #tchatBeverly Davis
Q4: Lead by example and apply time for mentoring staff. #Leadership is both a trait & a skill so exemplifying it is teaching #tchatSunny Shao
A4 Values comprise part of our Vision statement. Leaders model the behaviors / “character” expected. #TchatRedge
@SusanMazza Q4. Gotta say this: you can be an egoic SOB and be great C level leader in large corp if you have enough business savvy. #tchatKent Osborne
A4 #leaders should ensure conditions for autonomy, mastery & purpose exist in their organizations. Best way to honor your ppl. #TChatBob Lehto
A4: Straight talk and social recognition. Everybody needs a deserved nod. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A4 Our words matter little- but our actions reverberate in all areas. #leadership #character #tchatinTalent Consulting
Q5: How does good character underpin an org’s brand & affect how customers are treated? #TChatSusan Mazza
A5: In theory leaders character should align with corp values = brand, so will either amplify or destroy #tchatKirby Cole
Recognition is worth more than monetary rewards. Attention from a senior leader counts most. #TChatTranscend Coaching
Speaking as a resident of ILLINOIS we have learned that Leaders (w/o) character are bad & oftern go to jail #Tchat #Blog #Ryan (no relation)Dave Ryan, SPHR
We are drawn to natural leaders… fairn, high-integrity, motivational, character-based… leaders. #TChatMark Babbitt
Real leaders aren’t so wrapped up in being love with being a leader; they are more concerned about the ppl following. #tchatDawn Rasmussen
Lead with a beginner’s mindset – open, curious and free of prejudice. #tchat #leadershipVala Afshar
Leadership is a team sport. If you can’t play. get outta the way. #TChatDr. Janice Presser
Leadership is the confluence of service and courage. #tchatSalima Nathoo
The #character of leaders demonstrates to employee how to treat to others. Show your employees you embrace the #mission and #vision #tchatMichelle Z. Prohov
A5 If you look at offices/orgs with bad cust svc take a look at the leadership and I think you will find the reason #tchatGuy Davis
#tchat the only time a leader should look down at another team member is when they are offering them a hand up. #LeadershipBrad Wood
People wont follow if you lead in the wrong direction. Nor will they follow in the right direction if you lead them in the wrong way #tchatDavid Moore Ph.D
You can’t be a character-based leader if you lack strong character…if you have to, fake it ’till you make it 🙂 #tchatSheree Van Vreede
.@SocialMediaSean 100%! It’s amazing what you can learn from a great group of people #tChat #leadershipJobbook
Author: Kathleen Kruse
Kathleen "KK" Kruse has been exploring communication, technology and business dynamics for more than 20 years. As a consultant, she focuses on the space where humans and the digital realm intersect - including brand positioning and content strategies, community building and social media, web user experience and information design, SEO visibility and integrated marketing. She became a TalentCulture.com evangelist after discovering tremendous value in connecting with like-minded "world of work" professionals at weekly #TChat events. A storyteller at heart, KK specializes in developing market-inspired content that engages and educates target audiences. She blends analytical insight, creative vision, and the power of the English language to define and develop programs and narratives that are relevant, useful and persuasive. Her efforts have won credibility and market momentum for new ventures, as well as some of the world’s most recognized companies, such as Adobe, Apple, AT&T/NCR, Claris/FileMaker, IPG Emerging Media Lab, Netscape and Yahoo!