1. Good leaders make way for others. Good leaders do not have to have the last word and they don’t even need to have full self expression in the context of conversations. Good leaders do not bully their perspectives forward and they are always aware of the softer spoken individuals in a room ensuring that these ones have a chance to speak.
2. Good leaders understand that leadership is about opening up safe spaces for others and this is best accomplished by keeping their own mouths shut far more than they are naturally inclined. This requires a commitment to deep listening for the purpose of understanding and not necessarily responding; good leaders have this.
3. Good leaders do not ignore the elephant in the room. Where there is discrepancy within relationships they speak of these with candour but without condemnation. But they do speak. To leave an elephant in the room is to deal in dishonesty. Good leaders don’t do this. For while it may be a short term plan to avoid tough conversation a good leader has an eye to long term working relationships and solutions and knows that the unspoken is a threat to any true authenticity.
4. Good leaders know that leading is more about character and less about what one knows. One can be brilliant in one’s field but without character that takes others into account the brilliance goes to waste. Without wisdom to apply knowledge pride and arrogance take hold and people are hurt left and right. Leaders may be ‘right’ but good leaders have put aside their need to be right.
5. Good leaders are able to learn from those they do not agree with. Good leaders know they are not the only expert in the room and they actively look to understand things that seem foreign to them but familiar to others. Having settled their own insecurities some years earlier good leaders can receive from all people and in this they lead the way to richness of diversity, richness of thought, and richness of communion around common problems and solutions.
6. Good leaders allow those around them, those they’ve known a long time even, to excel and surpass even their own skill and influence. Weak leaders have unspoken rules and barriers around who can become better than them, good leaders don’t have this. Good leaders celebrate the achievements of others. Good leaders make space for their protege to surpass them and good leaders learn to receive from these ones they once taught.
7. Good leaders leave their ego’s at the door. Solid in who they are, no longer striving to make up for or to cover over inadequacies and insecurities, good leaders are gracious and make way for others. Good leaders know that there is no contest and that we all win when one of us wins. Good leaders stand in compassion and understanding and out of this everyone around them becomes a better person.