By: Sandi Verrecchia @satoriinsight

What leadership qualities make the real difference in an organization? The answer comes from those who have made an influence in your life and others. These 2 qualities may sound straight forward but they yield fantastic results.

In my decision to initiate a blog, I learned two things. One is that blogging is not for the faint of heart and second content is king, and queen for that matter. I began to think about what I could share with my followers that would interest you, but more importantly, could invoke change. I set out and created a long list of topics that I found to be both interesting and change worthy. The exercise forced me to really think about the lessons that have shaped the leader and executive coach that I am today. And so my first post is about Ted W.

Early in my career at a well-known trust company, I had the privilege of working with a man, who I believe, not only understood true leadership, but lived it every day. Over the years I have lost contact with him so for the purpose of this post I will simply call him Ted W. However, those of you who remember me way back when will know exactly who I am referring to. Ted W. was an outstanding leader and he taught me two very important lessons. Two lessons that continue to define my leadership style today.

Lesson #1: Common sense rules the day

This has become my mantra. In a world of rules, guidelines, regulations and legacy processes, common sense can often get lost. In Ted’s wisdom, he would empower his staff and those around him to make decisions that were in the best interest of those they were serving. Whether this be a customer, a friend or colleague he understood that rules, guidelines, regulations and legacy processes were necessary. He also understood that they were usually created with the interest of the company or person in mind and not necessary with the end user in mind. Not only would Ted empower his people to make common sense decisions, he would stand behind these decisions and passionately defend those who made decisions based on common sense.

Lesson#2: You get what you give

This lesson is about empowerment and trust. Ted W. knew that micro managing someone’s behaviour limits productivity. His philosophy, and now mine, is that if you treat others with respect, give them space to learn and, give them freedom and trust to make decisions, they will flourish and in return increase productivity. Top leaders create a culture of trust and empowerment. They create a coaching environment that allows employees to take responsibility for their own success and celebrates successes. This is important in the traditional office environment and is even more critical in the virtual world of work from home and alternate work arrangements. Equipping employees with the tools and space to be successful and measuring success versus a time clock creates a culture of creativity and accountability that breeds success.

As an Executive Leadership coach, I find that many executives struggle with the paradigm that leadership is about being hard and that empowering employees equals loss of control. I believe that true leadership means being tough but fair and creating a culture based on mutual respect, common sense and personal accountability – the Ted W. Factor, will be the catalyst for success at all levels.

After reading this blog take 5 minutes to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on these two very important leadership qualities. Congratulations to all of you that rate yourself 9 or higher on both. But to the rest of you what are you going to do differently going forward? Accountability starts from within, so what will you hold yourself accountable to change?

Image: flickr.com

  

Sandi VerrecchiaSandi Verrecchia
CMC, CPCC, MBA

Sandi Verrecchia is a Certified Management Consultant, holds a Masters degree and is a professional Leadership Coach. With over 20 years of experience in the financial services, academic and not for profit sectors, her diverse background of consulting, operations, marketing and sales is a wonderful compliment to her passion for coaching.