The ABCs of Leadership


By Diane Taylor

I recently attended the graduation of my most recent group of Generation NEXT leaders. These moments are truly magical for me as I get to see ten high potential leaders present their learnings to the senior leadership team.  Previous to the big day, I spent three one day sessions with them, approximately one month apart, digging into who they are as leaders and how to optimize that.  In celebration of all my Generation NEXT graduates to date, I felt inspired to share three key leadership lessons that transform good managers into great leaders.


Always Be Courageous
The way I initially learned the ABC’s was “Always Be Confident.”  This past week I decided to change it as courage is more valuable than confidence. When you are a courageous leader there are times when you need to be confident no doubt, but being a great leader goes beyond that. Being a courageous leader means always being accountable; sometimes it means making tough decisions for the greater good. At times it even means being respected rather than being liked.

When you are courageous, you commit to your vision and team and do whatever is needed to keep on track. Leaders that lack courage are followers. One day they believe one thing and the next they believe something else. They simply follow the popular opinion or what will help them move up the career ladder, rather than actually make a difference for the company or their people. To be a great leader – always be courageous!

Be Authentic
As leaders, we often look to others who we admire. We examine their strengths and try to emulate those strengths so that we too can be perceived as great leaders. Or we hear about the latest and greatest leadership book on the best seller list and we read it. Then we try to do exactly what it says for the next three weeks or so because, after all, it is a best seller so it has to be right!? These approaches to leadership may have some short lived impact; however, the only way to highly effective, sustainable leadership greatness is to be authentic.

In order to be an authentic leader, you need to discover what your own strengths or super powers are and then apply them as much as possible. Research proves that leaders who are recognized by their people for their strengths are far more effective in the areas of revenue, customer opinion scores and employee engagement. When you are authentic, people trust you and will follow you wherever you want them to go. This produces significant results. To be a great leader – be authentic!

Consciously Create
Great leaders do not just show up and carry on. They dream about where they want to go and what it will feel like when they arrive at their vision. My leaders even hear the song they will do their winning dance to when they achieve success.  Baby You’re A Firework!

After experiencing what the achievement feels like, they reflect backwards and imagine what challenges they faced along the way and strategize what they did to overcome these obstacles. From that imagining, an action plan is developed and buy in for the plan is achieved because we know how great the win is going to feel. The difference between good managers and great leaders is that great leaders consciously create their path and share their vision with their team so that everyone knows where you are headed. The result of the collective commitment is big time success. To be a great leader – consciously create!

Diane Taylor is an inspirational speaker, facilitator, coach and blogger. An expert in developing exceptional, authentic and engaged leaders, she is passionate about helping people create balance and meaning in their lives. A recognized leader in her field of human resources, Diane is also a dance and hockey mom who lives in South Surrey, BC.

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