Qualities Of a Good Leader...?

Crusader74

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- I would like to post a few traits that I would consider to be that of a good leader. I'm asking for anyone to kindly add/delete as necessary ...

1. Have Excellent Communication Skills: Being able to communicate to ones Junior and Senior ranks is very important so there is no ambiguity in what ever tasking is given.

2. Being an Excellent Listener: I believe being able to listen to advice/direction from your Junior NCO is as important as receiving from your SNCO. Being able to understand problems that may occur and addressing those issues in a professional & understanding manner both in an professional and domestic setting.


3. Having Good Observation/Situation Awareness: What I mean by having good observation is being able to predict possible issues with subordinates. A good leader should know his Troops very well and see changes in demeanor/morale and head off possible problems that may lead to less Unit cohesion.


4. Knowing the Limitations of yourself & your Team : Knowing strengths & weakness's of your Unit is a core fundamental in successfully completing a mission.

5. Responsibility: Taking responsibility for ones actions is a sign of a good leader. It shows courage and integrity.
 

03cpl

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If I may I would like to add one to your list-

Humility. I find it is easier to follow someone that is humble about themselves, and truly values the efforts of their teammates/subordinates.
 

Crusader74

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If I may I would like to add one to your list-

Humility. I find it is easier to follow someone that is humble about themselves, and truly values the efforts of their teammates/subordinates.


Nice one.
 

SkrewzLoose

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I'll add some from my 10 years of management experience prior to the military.

-Never ask someone to do something you haven't done yourself/aren't willing to do as well. Let your guys see you clean the toilets, but only once. After that, it becomes something that's delegated. You're a LEADER for a reason
-All good leaders have to be a good follower as well.
-Accountability for yourself and for your subordinates.
-Not being afraid to say "NO". "No" is an answer despite how many people don't want to think so.
-Don't manage by exception. The rules apply the same for everyone.
-Saying "I don't know, but I'll find you the answer" and then following up

I'm sure I'll be back to add more later!
 

NBC-Guy

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A few that I try to live by. Of course everyone's leadership styles are different.

Initiative : Get done what needs to get done without being told. As a leader you know the Mission and tasks that need to be accomplished. Failing to exercise Initiative breeds laziness amongst Troops and is a welcome invitation to Micomanging by your Superiors.

Respect : I try to treat all of my Soldiers with respect, even when they screw up. I am probably one of the last NCO's in my unit that will give ass chewings. I have learned from watching my Troops that taking time to talk to them and making it into a mentoring session that I gain more trust and credibility amongst them, which in the long run makes my job easier. ( I have had to get knee deep in a couple people though)

Proper Supervision : I make a diligent effort to Supervise the task that my Soldiers are accomplishing. This isn't possible in all instances, but if I am not busy doing paperwork or prepping training I like to be there. One, it shows that I am not just going to make the Soldiers work and disappear. Two, it allows me to make corrections as mistakes occur, which creates an opportunity to mentor and train. This will in time stregthen cohesion and mission effectiveness. I just remember how I felt when I was lower enlisted and NCO's would give a general tasking then pop smoke and return with Burger King or Coffee.

Professionalism : No matter where you are, if you are a leader, you have people looking up to you. As a leadership figure, you have the ability to control a lot of the vibe that goes around. If you act jacked up, catch an attitude at Seniors, and do things half asses, how do you think your Subordinates will respond? Conduct yourself professionally and give your Subordinates a prime example to follow. Don't let them see you Bitch or Complain. That will lower their morale and their drive to accomplish their taskings in an efficient manner.

Mentoring : I know that I wouldn't be the Leader I am now nor would I have the awards I have now if I weren't mentored by some outsanding people. I attempt to impart my knowledge, whether it pertains to life outside the uniform or aiding a Soldier in prepping for an upcoming NCOES. I want to ensure that when my time is done, that I have left people that are strong, commited, competent, and capable to lead others successfully. If I am not successful in that then I have failed in one of my most primary duties.
 

Topkick

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Reading this thread for the first time and thought adding some examples of leadership may be useful to those still in the fight.

When I was a young PFC, while I was in the field Stationed at NTC, my squad leader visited my OP site with bad news. My grandfather had just passed away. He said "pack up your shit, you are going home"

I didn't have a dollar to my name to buy a plane ticket, so I responded with "I'm good, sergeant, I can't afford it anyway"

He said " I ain't asking, pack up your shit"

He bought me a round trip ticket, took me to and picked me up from the airport. He also wouldn't let me pay him back. He told me not to say anything else about it.

I'll never forget that event, or that NCO. It was one of the reasons I reenlisted, which led to a career.

Selfless Leadership!
 
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compforce

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-Don't manage by exception. The rules apply the same for everyone.
That's not what managing by exception means. Managing by exception is the ONLY good way to manage. It means that you focus your efforts on the places where standards are not being met or where there is the most opportunity for improvement. You shouldn't be spending your time managing things that are working perfectly well (AKA micro managing). Spend your time managing where you have a real, positive impact. It's actually the underlying theory for the whole six sigma concept.
 

757

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Agreed, but it doesn't mean take your eyes off of anything because subordinates will sometimes only do the things that leaders actually check.
A professor/mentor of mine from college always used the phrase, "people do what you inspect, not what you expect." Sure enough, there was a pop quiz the next day that I wasn't fully prepared for :hmm:
 

Topkick

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☝️The Army used to teach the three leadership styles, Authoritative, Participative, and Delegative. This would've been considered Delegative.
 
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compforce

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Agreed, but it doesn't mean take your eyes off of anything because subordinates will sometimes only do the things that leaders actually check.
That's the other part, "Trust but Verify". Leaders inspire people to step up and do their best, but they spot check to make sure it is really meeting expectations. If you are truly leading, your direct subordinates will actively reach for new heights, hopefully by leading THEIR subordinates.

Of the three leadership styles you cited, authoritative breeds resentment and is easily the worst. It's also the most common in the military simply because there is such a focus on rank. Look up leading via power vs influence. Leading by influence is possible in the military, but it takes practice. Participative doesn't fit the military culture. Delegative is the best as long as you delegate the authority equal to the responsibility. If you delegate responsibility without the authority to get it done, you are setting them up for failure, which is a failure of your own.

ETA: Here's a good set of crib notes on Power vs Influence in Leadership Research Guides: Team Dynamics: Dealing with Power and Influence
 
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Topkick

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authoritative breeds resentment and is easily the worst. It's also the most common in the military simply because there is such a focus on rank.
I've worked for authoritarians and yes it breeds resentment, and most subordinates will not go the extra mile for you either out of spite or fear of making mistakes. However, this style is necessary at times because we are in the business of doing hard things, when orders should not be questioned. If your style is usually delegative, authoritative will work when you need it to.
 

compforce

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I've worked for authoritarians and yes it breeds resentment, and most subordinates will not go the extra mile for you either out of spite or fear of making mistakes. However, this style is necessary at times because we are in the business of doing hard things, when orders should not be questioned. If your style is usually delegative, authoritative will work when you need it to.
I'm assuming you meant it won't work when you need it to. I would offer that there's a difference between leadership and combat command. Being delegative does NOT mean allowing questions and alternate viewpoints, that's participative which cannot work in a conventional military environment. Delegative means you pass your intent to the next guy down the chain and allow them to get it done however they see fit. Then you hold them accountable to the result using non-combat failures as learning opportunities.

The funny thing about it is that a delegative style of leadership leads to faster responses when you do give an order that needs to be obeyed in the moment. The contrast with your usual delegative style is subconsciously interpreted as the command having more significance and goes unquestioned and without a hit to morale. If your style is more authoritative normally, when you give a command it is just another command. The most effective combat leaders that I saw all leaned heavily towards a delegative style and dusted off authoritative when it was appropriate.

(Side note - I mentioned conventional military. My experience with SOF is that it is much more participative in the planning stages to great effect. The individual operators all have input in the plan leading to internal ownership by each member of the team. They will all do damned near anything to make it work)
 

compforce

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That leads to another characteristic of a great leader. Managers own the operation (combat or not). Subordinates see that as a free pass to fail (or undermine it) because it's not their plan. Leaders present the plan in a way that encourages the subordinate to take ownership of their part of the plan. The subordinate then has a vested stake in the success of the plan and will hold themselves accountable for success.
 

Topkick

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I'm assuming you meant it won't work when you need it to.

Even If you've earned respect using a delegative style of leadership, there will be times you'll need to use the authoritative style, when a course of action must be executed instantly. If you've earned their respect, you'll not be questioned. We wrote the same thing here, but maybe you articulated it a little better.

funny thing about it is that a delegative style of leadership leads to faster responses when you do give an order that needs to be obeyed in the moment.
 

Topkick

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I'll add that using different styles of leadership in different situations is an art and is effective. My view is that a successful leader knows when to switch gears and use the right appproach, not any one style all the time.

You are not wrong and I think we mostly agree. I just think you are putting all the styles into one (and it makes sense) where I am applying it to situations.
 
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Locksteady

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Adding to the original list:

Competence: Knowing the work well enough to both set the performance standard and break it down to a wide range of people.
Leading from the Front: As a general principle, demonstrating by example and never asking your subordinates to do something you're unwilling to do yourself - "no job too small", etc. This can obviously be calibrated in accordance with varying mission/jobs/environments.

Also, especially this:
I'll add that using different styles of leadership in different situations is an art and is effective. My view is that a successful leader knows when to switch gears and use the right appproach, not any one style all the time.
 

Topkick

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The individual operators all have input in the plan leading to internal ownership by each member of the team. They will all do damned near anything to make it work
Yes. My experience differs in that I led squads, platoons, companies where many of my subordinates were not as invested as a group of professionals would be. This obviously required using the authoritative style more often. However, I have led teams of pro's in the civilian sector and generally use delegative/participative styles.
 
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