Be intentional about improving your leadership skills

Photo/Dennis Sparks

“Polls have shown consistently that the most admired leadership quality is honesty/integrity.” —Ronald Riggio

Some of us learned to teach and to lead from the examples provided by positive role models. We were fortunate to have outstanding teachers and leaders inform and guide our development. On the other hand, some of us may also have been shaped by negative models that caused us to resolve to never be like those individuals.

A problem with negative models, of course, is that they don’t necessarily instruct us in the desired way to think and behave. For instance, a leader whose authoritarian style stifles meaningful contributions from others may cause us to adopt an often counterproductive hands-off, laizze-faire approach. Or a leader whose toxic negativity infects everyone with whom he or she interacts may inadvertently have taught us to withhold our honest but critical views regarding an idea or plan, thus contributing through our acquiesce to a poor decision or an inadequate plan.

Take a moment now to . . .

• identify a lesson you learned from an ineffective leader and consider its flip side—how you will think and act in ways that embody the positive qualities that were absent in the negative model.

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