Mark’s Minute

Leading with the Five C’s in 2017, and Beyond.

Ask five different people what the most important competencies or skills of an effective leader are and you’ll get 30 responses. However there are 5 leadership practices that supersede competence or style. As you prepare for 2017 think about how they apply to you, to your formal and informal leaders, and to your organization as a whole:

Clarity: Above all else, leaders are responsible for having a crystal-clear vision of the path ahead. Steve Jobs was a fantastic example of a leader with laser-focus clarity. In fact, he was so assured of his vision (and so difficult to be moved from it) that not only his employees at Apple, but an entire marketplace, hung on his every word.

Creation:  Empowering your employees to create and engage in challenges provides an opportunity for that employee to feel as though they “own” their job-tasks and careers in a way that most organizations hope for, but few are willing to commit to. By providing the necessary resources for success, and encouraging employees to innovate, you’ll gain priceless buy-in for your own initiatives.

Consistency: You should have a direct line to both the hearts and heads of those you lead. Otherwise, you may need to consider if you are leading with position-power rather than having authentically moved employees to follow. And nothing will repel those who are willingly and positively being influenced by you faster than inconsistent treatment; to the vision and mission, to the employees, or to the customers. Know yourself and then be yourself. Consistently.

Communication: Slow down and take the time to truly and actively listen. Give and receive feedback in a positive and authentic manner. Every single one of your organization’s employees could deliver the most important piece of information you will hear all year long. Make certain that you don’t gloss over it in order to get to another conversation you deem more important. 

Caring: The last of the five C’s is the most important. And the hardest to fake – so don’t try. Understand that your employees are going to make mistakes, and they do so as humans first. When we can respect one another’s feelings – avoiding judgment, blame, and rejection in favor of acceptance and understanding – we are on the path to building trust and increasing our ability to influence. Do what you can to reduce the risk of failure to others, and share in the blame when it inevitably happens. You won’t believe how willingly your employees will “go to bat” for you when they know you’ll do the same.

We hope that you have had a fantastic and fulfilling 2016, and stand ready to support your efforts in building stronger, more cohesive, and more capable workforce in 2017.