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What makes a good leader?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by IWantAKouki, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. IWantAKouki

    IWantAKouki Kouki, Not Cookie.

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    I already have a good idea (be it from reading books and pamphlets about leadership, and taking notes from good leaders in my life), but I would like to hear more from people more experienced than myself. Maybe if you have personal experienced with an exceptionally good leader, or a leader who rubbed you the wrong way, etc etc.

    I'm going out for captain of an engineering team because I don't like free time. Thought some insight might be nice.
     
  2. Bizkitfan

    Bizkitfan Rookie

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    Probably the opposite of me.
     
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  3. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    One thing I think a great deal of people in leadership positions DON'T understand is that being a great leader has just as much to do with how you treat the people you lead as it does with the example you set.

    If you can't motivate and develop the people you lead, then any success you have with a team will be transient. A great leader shows respect to the people he leads, but gives them the motivation and tools to be the best they can possibly be. That means recognizing talents and weaknesses of those you lead and giving them appropriate roles on a team. But while everyone holds a different set of duties, it also means holding everyone to the same standard of excellence.

    Great leadership is more external than many managers, coaches, etc understand IMO.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  4. DougHeil

    DougHeil The LeFraud Interaction

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    I've had a few leadership roles in my life. One thing I learned over the years is that EACH and every person under you has to be led differently and according to what is most important to "them" and not necessarily you as the leader. That was one thing that took me awhile to see, and it's also one thing where most leaders of men fail at miserably. It's also why I now have problems working under others of whom I see many faults with.

    If your employees truly know you have their backs, then they will do what they can for you and whatever project you are on at the time. If you realize one guy/gal needs more praise, then give it to them whenever possible. Some are motivated by constructive criticism and some are not. You have to totally know your employees. I feel that is key.

    I also do feel you have to set the example. If you can't walk the talk, then you shouldn't be talking the talk either,.. or leading.
     
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  5. IWantAKouki

    IWantAKouki Kouki, Not Cookie.

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    Yeah, I read Michael Abrashoff's "It's Your Ship", which told how he as commanding officer completely turned the ship around, making it the best damn ship in the Navy, by basically throwing away all standard Navy protocol. He's stressed a lot of the same things you guys are saying. He was big on creating an open forum for new ideas; had no problem with anyone telling him he's doing something poorly, etc. He was also big on praise, and whenever someone had a good new idea he would say so over the loudspeaker on the ship so everyone heard immediately. Concepts that I want to integrate into the team I am on, since we have some of the same characteristics (group is inexperienced but insightful, I myself am a "new" leader, etc).

    The chapter titles of his book sum it up...Take command, lead by example, listen aggressively, create climate of trust, look for results not salutes, etc...

    (It also made me aware that if I was in the Navy fifteen years ago, I could have been friggin commanding officer myself; some of the "breakthrough ideas" were just creating electronic databases...really?)

    One of the things I wanted to do if/when I become leader is sit down and have a personal interview/meeting with every member on the team and just learn about them, their goals, why they are on the team, what they want to contribute, etc.
     
  6. KCOTT

    KCOTT OSU Alum

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    this was beat into my head when I did NROTC...JJDIDTIEBUCKLE
    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/leadership_traits.htm
    if you're into the reading books thing, i was recommended this book but never read it...it's supposed to be really good about leadership
    http://www.amazon.com/Its-Your-Ship...9117/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315240270&sr=8-1


    The down and dirty on leadership that I think is important from my experience:

    - Need to bring the best out of your subordinates. Your goal should be training and leading them so they get promoted and advanced. If you advance somehow but your subordinates don't, then you failed them as a leader.
    - Decisiveness. You're the leader, right? Well make the goddamn decision then. I hate it when people are being paid to make a decision and they don't. They ask the guy above them to make it. Decisions should be made at the lowest level possible, if not, then why have leaders at the lower levels?
    - Don't micromanage. Nothing will drive people more insane. Management is a part of leadership. Don't overdo it. Let people do their jobs.
    - Input goes up and down. You should be open to input from people below you and you should also be providing input to people above you. While the decisions above you are not yours to make, you should still contribute. And if you never take input from others below you, you won't last long as an effective leader.
    - Lastly, know your people. Know who's married, who has kids, who's having problems, etc. It's hard to have a cohesive unit/team if somebody can't perform at their best because they just found out their kid is sick or is in the hospital, etc. And do whatever you can to help them, because it will surely help you more in the long run.
     
  7. KCOTT

    KCOTT OSU Alum

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    One thing I forgot, that's more of a pet peeve than anything and I see it all the time, you might be the leader but don't overdo it. I fucking hate it when some new guy or girl (mainly girls) freshly commissioned out of the Academy/ROTC thinks they can change the entire military overnight, or abuse their status by implying they can do whatever they want just because they have gold bars on their collar. Ease yourself into the position. Start with sticks and stones first, save the missiles for later. A wannabe overachieving leader can be just as terrible and annoying as a lazy underachieving leader.
     
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  8. IWantAKouki

    IWantAKouki Kouki, Not Cookie.

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    Good advice. I might have started to flirt around the boundary of "overachieving" with some of the things I've already tried to incorporate. I'm going to go back and revise what I've done a bit.

    KCOTT, that is literally the exact book I just got done reading, hahaha. It was good. Organization was a little odd but it was good.
     
  9. KCOTT

    KCOTT OSU Alum

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    I don't want to drive down your motivation or initiative. If you feel like the level you are operating it is in the best interests of the group you're leading and they don't feel overwhelmed or turned away from you then keep the pace going. You'll know when you're overdoing it. You'll get the feedback from your people, whether it's as subtle as rolling their eyes, yawning, or showing disgust, or as clear as night and day when they straight up verbally let you know. Find the happy medium because you still have objectives and goals to get done. I remember being in college with an engineering group on a project and distinctly remember having a meeting just to discuss when to have meetings. And then when we finally had our real meeting, the dude laid out like 50 different things he wanted to get done and was over the top. I was like really dude? Really?
     
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  10. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    You also need to have the ability to drink more than 10 pussy ass beers.
     
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  11. IWantAKouki

    IWantAKouki Kouki, Not Cookie.

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    Well, one of the things I am really big on is organization and documentation, especially due to the failure of last year's team in this regard. However (and I thought this before I saw your post; your post only helped confirm my suspicions) some of the methods I am incorporating could be made simpler and better. Have to balance great organization and documentation without making it a chore for people to do it, which makes them not want to do it.

    I don't have time to think of a witty retort so eff yew.
     
  12. Shakalu M.D.

    Shakalu M.D. Its Happening!!!!

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    Good leaders don't need to think about witty retorts, they just make them.
     
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  13. DougHeil

    DougHeil The LeFraud Interaction

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    Good leaders don't drink beer, pussy ass or not.
     
  14. IWantAKouki

    IWantAKouki Kouki, Not Cookie.

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    :(

    :(

    Guess I better put down this Bud...
     
  15. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    You're right. GREAT leaders drink beer.
     
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  16. DougHeil

    DougHeil The LeFraud Interaction

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    Leaders who think they are great, probably are not.
     
  17. DougHeil

    DougHeil The LeFraud Interaction

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    "Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes."
    Peter Drucker




    ah; I see now.
    Sincerely,
    Barack Obama
     
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  18. The Oi

    The Oi Or Also Schtick

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    What if they think they're mediocre?
     
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  19. PriceCarr

    PriceCarr Towel Waver

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    You either have it, or you don't. You can get concepts and ideas from books but that's not what will make people believe in you.

    I was captain of my sports teams in high school and college and mostly because I was very vocal and they knew I would run through a wall for anybody on the team. They respected me and knew that I put the work in.

    Now I am in management at a bank where all of my staff are 20 years older than me, some have kids as old or older than me. Earning their respect is always my first task. They know I don't ask them to do anything that I won't do as well. Learning what motivates each person is also key, you can't lead everybody the same. Everybody has their own ticks. Being completely open and allowing them to provide feedback and taking their concern for more than just lip service is huge because of my age. Being knowledgeable also helps, I know the industry and they know I know it.
     
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  20. Shakalu M.D.

    Shakalu M.D. Its Happening!!!!

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    Being liked probably helps when running for elected office though.
     
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