THE BLOG
07/31/2014 10:25 am ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

It's Not About Leading; It's About Leading Well

Experience and Skill? I'm sorry -- that is not even close to enough!

In discussions about talent and strong management depth, deep experience and skill in performing the job are the key attributes I hear about all the time.

Really? Those are chips to get in the game. That's what you need to get considered for the interview!

What I want to see in addition to their experience, is leadership awareness, a keen understanding of what is important to them -- what they stand for, their non-negotiables... and how transparently and consistently they weave this into the daily fabric of their leadership actions.

When experience and skills intersect with consistent values-based leadership style -- that is when the magic happens and greatness emerges.

I had a conversation on this inflection point with Gary de Rodriguez, one of my Linkedin connections and a gifted authority and keynote speaker on Leadership. He explains it this way:

The heart of great leadership is truly being value driven...The next layer down is how do leaders maintain consistent and congruent interactions that build trusted and loyal teams. In the work that I have done in the leadership space I have found that level of congruence only happens through self leadership. I define self leadership as the ability to remove historical emotional inhibitors so there is no haunting past triggering the actions, thoughts and potential of the NOW as well as having a clear personal mission driven by well defined values. These two coupled with absolutely clarity on a strategy forward provides a powerful force for good to accomplish great things.

And yet, leaders are usually hired for their past results -- their track record. We hear descriptions of leaders such as:
"They have seen and done it all before"
"Nothing surprises them"
"Cool under fire"
"Deeply experienced"
"They deliver results"

But the thing about track records is that they look backwards, and the world is changing...fast.

• Employees are mobile, and talented employees even more so.
• Employees care about the values of the brands they work for, and more and more are holding management accountable to represent them.
• Consumers care how products are made and services delivered.
• Betterment of the communities in which we do business is a priority.
• More and more, companies are held to task, and want to deliver social profit as well as financial profit.

As such, great leaders just cannot be defined as results-oriented only. And results for them take on a much broader meaning. Experience and skill are no longer enough.
Great Leaders bring style and values to the table. They work on their self-awareness and understanding their value system, and they are completely committed to leading with that - they know that transparency and consistency of actions and behavior are the only true hallmarks of receiving trust.
• Great leaders bring all of themselves to the table. They have a strong self-awareness of what matters to them and bring that - always! (often a painful thing to do) They understand that empathy and open-mindedness starts with self-awareness and transparency.
• Great leaders invest in their teams and understand that high performance comes with the empathetic synergies created through transparency and trust.
• Great leaders understand that results clearly include financial results but address impact and talent development and community with similar importance.
• Great Leaders respect and reflect employees' values and priorities
• Great Leaders drive for execution and results not in spite of, but because they lead with empathy, with a deep understanding of the needs (and motivations) of others - be that customers, employees, their communities.

Find that inflection point. Live it daily.
Commit to leading well!