By Art Rainer
You probably have seen or been a part of an organization where the leadership was simply bad. And the consequences of poor leadership made it down throughout the entire organization. The scars are everywhere.
Contrarily, you probably have seen or been a part of an organization where great leadership was evident. Everywhere you looked, there were signs that pointed toward a great leader.
Let’s look at seven signs that great leadership exists:
1. Everyone communicates vision
It is no longer only the leader who is banging the vision drum. Certainly, he is reiterating the vision, but he is not alone. The vision is understood and articulated by everyone else in the organization. The vision is common vernacular at all levels in the organization.
2. Leaders are leading
There is not a top-level task-completing team, but there is a top-level leadership team. They understand the vision and feel empowered to guide their respective team toward it. They are not afraid to make decisions. And they are not afraid to take an occasional risk.
3. Risks are being taken
Great leaders are more scared of the consequences of maintaining the status quo than the consequences of a failed, appropriate risk. They know that risks must occur to move forward. Consequentially, those in the organization are not fearful of taking an occasional, appropriate risk.
4. Silos are non-existent
Where there is strong vision, there are weak silos. Or even no silos. Everyone helps everyone. They know that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their department.
5. Vision-aligned decisions are being made at lower levels
This is how you know organizational clarity exists. Those who are lower on the organizational chart are both empowered and able to make value-aligned decisions. They know the guardrails and make good decisions within them.
6. People are motivated
They know vision, and they know that their role in reaching it really matters. They want to do everything they can to ensure organizational success because they believe in the organization and its direction. Work is by no means easy. There are significant challenges to face. But being a part of the solution to those challenges provides significance to their work.
7. People are happy
They actually want to show up to work. Why? Well, they know the vision. They understand the direction of the organization. There is not a leadership bottleneck at the top. They are able to be a part of new, and sometimes risky initiatives. They are not battling but working with other departments. And they know that their work plays a significant role in overcoming challenges and reaching the vision. These things tend to make people happy at work.
The signs of great leadership are evident. They show up throughout the organization. If you are a leader, check to see if these signs are present in your organization. Lead the organization that others want in on.
Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.