What core values must one possess that characterize the traits, practices, and competencies inherent in sound and effective leadership?
1. Making a Difference
We have a profound privilege of causing transformation of our stakeholders as global leaders, transformation of our partners as conversation leaders and knowledge producers, transformation of our staff as facilitators of quality service, and transformation of government, universities, industry, and philanthropy, as builders of society, shaping humanity, and advancing our world.
2. Self-Expression and Generosity
America is an exceptional, historical place of fundamental freedoms founded upon efficient economic and sound intellectual thought; giving of itself abundantly in duty and service to community and the world, and to people from all walks of life.
3. Creation of Knowledge
We generate potential from promise itself, affecting society today. We respect a longstanding legacy of shaping thought in America with the ultimate purpose in developing future leaders for a global service and citizenry through the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
4. Responsibility and Accountability
We are a leadership community with an inherent responsibility and unconditional accountability to ensure the potential and promise, and ultimately, the success of our stakeholders, their partners, and their organizations. We assure the success of dedicated institutions (families, churches, schools, governments, corporations, and charities) at work together building a strong America.
5. Integrity and Trust
We are a whole and complete organization of duty and quality service in creating partnership possibilities that are authentic in our purpose to accomplish with integrity our intellectual mission. We aim to function consistent with our values of freedom, responsibility, generosity, and creativity. We promise to aptly manage the trust in service to our stakeholders and partners, working hard for their organizations, institutions, and governance, for the benefit of society, humanity, and the world.
Just what does ‘leadership’ mean on a practical level? If you’re an aspiring leader or already hold a leadership role, it is likely you have thought this question through.
Leadership encompasses three perspectives:
- Hindsight – Respect all aspects of the organizational mission and its history by motivating, acknowledging, and honoring the people that have shaped the organization.
- Oversight – Show the pathways for the organization to achieve its goals and objectives through enrolling others using sound executive judgment.
- Foresight – Craft a vision for a promising future of the organization’s mission that clearly establishes what’s possible.
‘Bridging the Trust Gap’ starts with ‘The End in Mind.’ That is, Being in the future of possibilities. Doing what enrolls others. Saying whatever acknowledges good results.”
What qualities constitute good or bad leaders?
Effective and efficient leaders have sound management traits and qualities:
- They read. Then, read more. Until, they read almost everything.
Of the making of books there is no end.” – First spoken or written nearly 3000 years ago
- They listen. And then, actively listen. Until, they hear almost nothing else that needs to be heard anymore. It is about listening to ‘You and Others,’ ‘Others and You,’ and most of all ‘Others to Others.’
Being in communication is access to power; Reality in communication is power to create.”
- They use executive judgment, which constitutes three aspects of reaching a decision or drawing a conclusion. That is, conveying empathy towards others, asking lots of questions, and providing service to the organization and its mission for humankind and society as a whole.
A good executive must be good at decision making.” – A spirit of judiciousness in decision
Bad leaders tend to emphasize ‘me,’ ‘my,’ and ‘I’ more than ‘us,’ ‘our,’ and ‘We.’ This fundamental quote on leadership and management by an ‘American Salesman in London,’ a century ago, just about sums it all up –
A boss says ‘Go!’ A leader says ‘Let’s Go!’ “– Harry Gordon Selfridge (1909)
What best practices do we expect a good leader to follow?
Here’s a necessary aspect of a good leader. It is not sufficient to just insist that one has the character of fidelity, honesty and fair-dealing. A good leader is best at putting these character qualities into practice.
A good leader, regardless of their position, pay closest attention to three best practices:
- They establish a ‘winning strategy’ that ‘captures value’ and ‘mitigates risk’ for the organization and its mission, shaping effective governance of monitoring and oversight.
- They integrate the organization’s strategy, marketing, finance, and operations for efficiency of the senior leadership team, working alongside organizational staff and employees.
- They create a stable culture built around motivations and incentives for enhanced performance of the organizational workforce, which is accountable and responsible to the organization’s mission – ‘The Why We Exist?‘
Find the Good and Praise It” – Author Alex Haley (1921-1992)
Let us also suggest three more specific core competencies required of servant professionals in leadership roles.
Respectfully consider this simple formula of a sound executive leadership compass of success.
- Fundraising = Stewardship
- Finance = Strategy
- Facilities = Safety
Moreover, there are rules of law that shape a ‘winning strategy,’ as follows:
(a) History repeats in cycles, but not necessarily the same ones.
(b) All growth will end. Why — because it is knowledge, intelligence, and completeness.
(c) Diversity is risky, but worth the risks held in our capital and debt management.
(d) Uncertainty is innovative, necessary and sufficient to our collective productive power.
(e) Focus is a power of communication.
(f) Structure means alignment and interdependence, but must be efficient and effective.
(g) Guidance is stories respecting history and values of followers.
(h) Resources are uniqueness and competencies.
(i) Institutions are contractual alternatives in mergers, alliances, ventures, and partnerships.
(j) Interest is diplomacy through negotiation and mediation — “Finding the Forum that Fits the Fuss” — Harvard Bussey Professor of Law Emeritus, Frank E. A. Sander
Partnerships are about offering and accepting what’s possible.”
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