Years ago I taught a series of workshops at an educator’s convention, called “Be A Better Teacher.” The idea for these workshops started with a single workshop that I had originally prepared, called “The Be-Attitudes of Better Teaching,” in which I identified and explained some of the most important attributes and characteristics that should be reflected in who and what a teacher should be. It grew into six workshops – Be Prepared, Be Good, Be Funny, Be Yourself, Be a Teacher, and Be an Influence – that focused on effective teaching techniques, methods and characteristics of good teachers.
When something recently triggered my memory of these workshops, it dawned on me that the same kind of idea – a list of “Be” statements – was true in leadership as well. Certain attitudes, skills, and characteristics are important in a leader for that leader to be effective, so I started thinking about what those things might be (pun intended). While not an all-inclusive list, I identified a few of those “Be-Attitudes” in the context of leadership that are essential to leading well.
First, though, we need a reminder of the basic context of leadership. In any leadership circumstance, that are three variables involved: the leader, the follower, and the situation. Each plays an important role, and each has an impact on the dynamic that is at work. Therefore one of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to understand all three, so that he or she can then know how best to lead followers, and how best to lead in the situation at hand. In addition, there two thing that a leader is always managing: people and tasks. Therefore, almost everything that a leader does is done in order to effectively lead and manage people, and effectively manage and accomplish tasks.
With an understanding of this basic synopsis of leadership, there are several attributes and skills that must be part of a leader’s make-up. Again, it’s not an all-inclusive list, but it does include a variety of topics that can be sorted into five broad categories:
- Be Genuine
- Be Relational
- Be Trustworthy
- Be Knowledgeable
- Be Excellent
These are the five categories of “Be-Attitudes” of better leadership” that I will be spending time on in the next few months. Each month, I intend to discuss some of the different ways each of those topics is reflected in practice, and I may also throw in recommended books that are relevant to each topic. By the time I get to the end, I may discover that there are some other categories that need to be added, and if that’s the case, then we’ll take more time. In the end, my hope is that you have a grasp on some of the most important characteristics and practices that need to be imbedded into yourself and your leadership, for you to be the most effective leader you can be; for you to “Be a Better Leader.”