Monica Wofford, CSP writes leadership articles weekly on Contagious Commentary and can be found all over Google.

Where would your leadership skills rank?

When I type in the word “Leaders” in Bing, it pulls up 467,000 results, just in the news tab. On Google, the same search nets about 47,900 results. What’s the difference? Are search engines defining leaders differently? While that’s likely, it is positively true in your office and your circle of influence. When one thinks of the word leader, do you come to mind?

Often in a Contagious Leadership class, I will ask what it takes to be an effective leader? The responses vary widely, but almost always communication, vision, and development of others, will top the charts. Yet, the key, critical element it takes to be an effective leader is… wait for it… followers. So, among those who follow you, title or no title, official capacity or not, are you considered a leader who communicates well, has a vision and develops others?

If not, try these techniques to boost your leadership perception and performance:

Communicate Effectively

This sounds simple enough, but it may be more challenging than you think. Communication works very well if you follow what is called the Platinum Rule – “Do unto others as they would want to be done unto”. This means sharing your message in a way that the recipient might understand best, versus how you would like to hear the same message. If those two are vastly different, this may take some focused practice as most of us communicate by habit in exactly the way we ourselves, prefer.

Have Vision

On CNBC on Monday of last week, Suzy Welch, wife of author Jack Welch, shared that leaders need values, not just a mission statement. In addition to the values, which reflect who you are, and the mission which is that bold statement of where you want to go, a vision combines both to arrive at how we might get there, how fast, and with whom, and with what fervor, spirit or feel. When you, as the leader, have a clear vision, it spreads and is, in fact, contagious! What is your vision for that team you have the privilege of leading? For those customers? For your colleagues? And for your organization, department, or company?

Development of Others

Contrary to the opinion of many, development does not sound like “Do it because I said so” or “just go do that”. In fact, developing others follows a similar format as communication. What do THEY need development in? In what area are THEY interested in gaining more development? IF you can find the spark that ignites enthusiasm or that internal kernel of potential and interest in those you lead, development of that trait, gift, skill or talent will seem nearly effortless.

Would your leadership skills make the Google search? Would those you lead label you as a leader? Perhaps more importantly for most of us, outside of finding our leadership skills in Google or Bing, is would those we have the privilege of leading follow us when things are good, bad, lean, abundant, stressful or stress free?  Stay tuned for more leadership guidance this week and in the meantime, stay contagious!

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