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Three Keys to Exceptional Leadership

There are connections between parts of life that sometimes don't seem connected. For example: Workplace and home. Leadership and personal relationships. Spirituality and success. I write about leadership, because in every part of life, we are leaders. We make decisions. We affect others. We want to accomplish goals. There are people in every part of our respective lives who look to us for help, for guidance, or for direction.

There are two reasons these seemingly separate parts of your life are connected:

1. No matter where you go in life--you are there. Your character, values, and way of being are what you bring to each relationship and each setting.

Life is supported by underlying principles. For example, the principle of responsibility. When you take responsibility for your situation you become powerful. When you insist on remaining a victim, you are powerless. Principles such as responsibility are unchanging in all parts of your life.

The principles that make you successful in one setting, make you successful in other settings. You may think that you are successful at work because you are hard on people. Yet, you don't do that at home. At home you are more patient and caring. The principle in play here is responsiveness. Whether you are hard or soft on people is not the issue. The issue is, do you care deeply about these people?

It may be that you care deeply about your family, but the people at work are more like objects to you. They are a means to an end for you. People sense when you care and when you don't. If you are self involved at work, concerned only for your goals and your needs, you will be unable to connect with others. Your inability to care and connect with others makes you ineffective. Any "success" you have in getting things done will come with resistance from others. You may think: "Oh, I'm not like that." Yet, at one time or another, we are all like that. We get involved in our own stuff and forget that others have needs and goals, too. It is important to step back and ask: "Am I being responsive to this person? Am I feeling real concern and care for them?" If you aren't, your effectiveness is diminished. On the flip side, your ability to be responsive to others invites them to respond to you. People who sense that you care will be more willing to help you with your goals.

Making people do things is not leading. Leadership is about influence. It is about creating an environment where people want to do the right thing. You create an environment with your way of being -- how you are with people. If you are confused, disorganized, angry, stressed, or frustrated -- then that is the environment you are creating. If you are joyful, clear about purpose, caring, and confident -- then that, too, would be an environment that you create. A smile, a kind word, noticing something good someone has done, listening, empathy, helping someone solve a problem, collaborating, playing, and direct, honest feedback --- these are all ways that we can be responsive to other people.

Whether you are at home or at work; in politics or in your spiritual/religious community, you are a center of influence. You are a leader. What makes a great leader in a workplace, also makes a great leader at home with the family. What makes a great leader at church, makes a great leader on the school board. The reason you are more effective in one setting than another is because you feel more confident and caring in that setting. When you are confident and caring, you build trust and loyalty with others.

There are three principles, or keys, that I believe to be essential to excellent leadership. They are: 100 % responsibility, responsiveness to others, and clarity. If you are 100 % responsible you move beyond blaming and do your best to solve a problem or accomplish a goal. You take ownership for the role you play and for each situation you encounter. If you are responsive to others, you treat all people with care and respect. If you have clarity, you know who you are and what your priorities are. You make your thoughts, words, and actions consistent with your priorities.

If there is an area of life where you would like to be a more effective leader, think in terms of these three keys.

1. Where in this situation or relationship can I take more responsibility? More ownership?
2.   Where can I be more responsive to other people, more understanding of their needs?
3.   Am I clear? That is, am I focused on what I want to come of this situation, or am I focused on what I don't want? Whichever you are focused on will be your most likely outcome. Wherever you are, you can lead. The choice is: where and how will you lead?

For a deeper and more comprehensive explanation of the three keys with examples, listen to The Leader's Edge: Three Keys to Exceptional Leadership. Reasonably priced at $12 USD, it can be ordered in Cd or in Mp3 form. Order now at noblaming.com William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of three books. Bill speaks at conferences and to organizations. Contact him at bill@noblaming for speaking or for coaching to executives and to executive teams.

Article Source: http://www.leadershiparticles.net