Leadership must never be perceived, looked at, or treated like some form of elitism. The behavior of a true leader must always be welcoming, warm, caring, and especially, value – oriented. One can never effectively lead without putting himself in the best possible position to effectively listen to the desires, needs, and viewpoints of his constituents. How often do we observe group of individuals in positions of leadership merely hang out together, almost in some sort of semi – seclusion, behaving like they were above the fray, and elite. Great leaders recognize that there is no place for elitism and cliquish behavior, if one wants to actually be a leader !
1. For well over three decades, I have been professionally counseling those in leadership positions that they need to be welcoming, caring, and effectively communicate with those they have been elected to serve. This requires not simply speaking at people, but actually having two way conversations, and speaking to them. This only comes about when a leader makes the effort to truly meet his constituents, and actually get to know them. For that reason, the greatest leaders are always both the best at asking questions, as well as the most effective listeners. How can you possibly serve the needs of the group if you don’t have the proper feel for their wants, needs, ideas, concerns, interpretations (and misconceptions), and motivations. Far too often, especially at organizational events, we observe the so – called leaders speaking amongst themselves, often to the exclusion of the masses. This is one of the reasons that I always counsel leaders to mingle with the crowd (what I refer to as working the room). If possible, it is generally recommended that leadership does not sit together at events, but rather are interspersed around the room. Those in leadership must never dominate the conversations, but always get involved as participants and often, clarifiers. It is amazing how many misconceptions, rumors, and misinformation circulates when leaders do not make the effort to meet and answer concerns, etc. It often takes only a few moments to clarify and address a concern, while it takes a prolonged period to overcome a debilitating misconception or rumor.
2. Great leaders emphasize empathy. They clearly show that they are both concerned about others, as well as care deeply. There is often a tendency for some in leadership to become preachy or dictatorial, assuming a know – it – all type of attitude, while the constructive approach is supportive, attentive, and emphasizing thorough and effective listening.
Leadership is not belonging to a clique or some exclusive club. Rather, it is a promise and a responsibility, to take care of the needs and concerns of constituents.