Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Single Most Important Attribute?

By Pascal Dennis

What's the single most important attribute of leaders at all levels?

What quality do we seek to develop & amplify in all our people, and especially our leaders?

I'd say initiative.

Initiative entails feeling that I can and will make a difference.

(Psychologists use the clinical term 'having an internal locus of control'.)

Much has been written about motivation, of course.

The consensus: we cannot motivate -- we can only de-motivate.

So how do we remove the barriers to initiative, the de-motivators, if you will?

Start by adopting a policy of respect for people, and never waver.

Respect means:
  1. Put Safety first,

  2. Be open and honest,

  3. To the best of your ability, give team members job security

  4. Help them develop the skills they need, by doing and getting their hands dirty,

  5. Give them clear objectives

  6. Give them guidance on how to achieve them, without telling them how (and thereby taking away their responsibility and opportunity to learn)

  7. Reward them fairly. To the best of your ability, render to every person "their lawful due"

I'm lucky enough to work with some of the world's best companies.

Initiative is their common thread, and respect for people, its source.

Best regards,


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