In episode 63 of the Leadership Minute, Tony Uphoff discusses some learnings he’s gleaned from serving in leadership positions throughout his 30-year career: Namely, what makes a good leader, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Tony shares four particularly important traits that all great leaders share.
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00:43 — During times of uncertainty and change, as we are living through now, people look for leaders who can help them move forward when the path isn’t completely clear and there are tough decisions to make. As such, Tony says, it’s also not surprising that this is a time when some companies have determined it’s time for a change in leadership.
01:50 — Leadership is a topic of endless fascination for Tony. He wonders what makes a great leader, whether leaders are born or can be taught, if one can train to become a better leader, if certain personality types make better leaders than others, and if there’s a test for leadership capability like the Myers Briggs test.
02:17 — Tony has also seen that the best leaders view becoming a great leader as a horizon goal and something that they work on every day. To narrow it down further, though, great leaders tend to share four traits; traits that one can develop and work on. Number one, curiosity. Tony has never seen a great leader who wasn’t genuinely curious about their business, their customers, their employees, their competitors, and the world around them.
02:45 — Number two, self-belief — not blind confidence or arrogance, but a self-belief that a leader can figure things out and make a difference. Self-belief is also what allows leaders to generate the emotional stamina that leadership often requires.
03:01 — Number three, a healthy dose of self-doubt. Leaders need to question themselves, “Have I really thought this decision through? Have I prepared enough? Am I putting people in the best positions for success? Have I allocated our resources the right way? Is this competitor a major threat to our business?”
03:25 — And number four, impulse control. Many leaders give in to frustration when things aren’t going well. They express dissatisfaction when people bring them bad news. They say things that belittle and micromanage people, as well as processes. While people don’t often think about impulse control as a leadership attribute, Tony believes it’s absolutely crucial.
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