21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader (Maxwell)

Book Review / Leadership

21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader (Maxwell)
Stephen Hobbs , Entrepreneur

What It Takes to Become an Awesome Manager-Leader.

Do You Know What It Takes to Become an Awesome Manager-Leader?

John Maxwell does!

After 30+ years of studying leadership and leading he gleaned 21 qualities he identified important for his book (2007):
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow

His list of 21 qualities are meant to move your understanding of good leadership skills to awesome leadership skills:
*** character, charisma, commitment, communication, competence, courage, discernment, focus, generosity, initiative, listening, passion, positive attitude, problem-solving, relationships, responsibility, security, self-discipline, servanthood, teachability, and vision ***

And all of them are great.

However, I would modify three of them based on my experience with management learning and leadership excellence. The modification is to align with the important message: Words Matter.

The three are positive attitude, problem-solving and teachability

With positive attitude I suggest equilibrating attitude – re: the ability and willingness to bring negative and positive thoughts into equilibrium to 'dynamically balance' the two together.
To explain: If you work from a positive attitude only, while ignoring the negative aspects of managing-leading you rob yourself of helpful insights. When you balance what's hindering (negative) and what's helping (positive) you find new ideas to shape your manager-leader approach.

With problem-solving I suggest issue inquiry – re: the knowledge and skill to identify issues and design/implement interventions to deal with the issues.
To explain: your manager-leader approach. Problem issues are surrounded by concern and need resolution ( = problem solving or problem inquiry) whereas appreciation issues are surrounded by joy and need expansion ( = appreciative expanding or appreciative inquiry). Because what you focus on intensifies, both problems and resolution, and appreciations and expansion require your concerted awareness and appropriate action.

With teachability I have two points. First, Maxwell links the concept with the manager-leader's ability to learn. Instead, I suggest learnability. This term better reflects the knowledge and skill processes through which manager-leaders continually improve how they engage at work. I know accelerating manager-leader learning agility is critical more so today than ever – if only to sort the NEWS from the NOISE!

Second and more important – when I first read teachability, I was thinking about the manager-leader's ability to educate. Therefore, I suggest a 22nd quality educate-ability – re: the knowledge, skill and attitude to teach and guide staff in helping them to help you manage-lead.
To explain: For your manager-leader approach you need to manage-teach the people and lead-guide each person. To teach involves instructing and training – aligned with managing! To guide involves mentoring and counseling – aligned with leading! Becoming competent in both expands the ways you approach workplace issues from a balanced perspective. Sometimes you have to help the people as a whole while other times you have to help a person.

Update: This educate-ability addition is important to WELLth Learning Network because of the upcoming publication of the Help Them Help You Manage-Lead eBook. We've noticed books published on single or combined educating approaches helpful to manager-leaders like facilitating or coaching & mentoring. We've brought 9 educating approaches together and outlined how each educating approach helps a manager-leader manage and/or lead. UPDATE, UPDATE = Look for its launch in March 2013.

Ask about pre-reading the eBook to add your testimonials and get a jump start on its insights today like developing your authentic leadership approach through guiding a person and your authentic management approach through teaching others.

If you use the above mentioned insights about equilibrating attitude, issue inquiry and educate-ability, a reference to this page location and/or wellthlearning.com is appreciated.

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Other Views by this Author: Manager-Leader Strategic Thinking | 5 Clues Your Staff are Working with You

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