The Portrait Of A Leader

It is interesting to note that people are the determining factor in the strength of a good leader as leaders cannot do it all on their own.

So how can someone call themselves a leader if their people do not believe they are? People are very quick to assume that because someone is in a supervisor or manager role that they will be a good leader/manager. Is that always the case?

The other day I was meeting with a colleague of mine and we were discussing things that have happened to each of us during our careers. My colleague relayed a situation that I found somewhat disturbing in that a missed opportunity for my colleague at the workplace was part of a discussion between my colleagues supervisor and a co-worker.

Now, one will assume that this took place without the knowledge that my colleague could hear the conversation, but that is not the point. This type of behaviour is not indicative of a good leader or manager. You may have the title, but you may not be demonstrating the behaviours that a good leader or manager should have.

We all want to work with good leaders and managers. But what happens when we land in an organisation where the not so good leaders outnumber the good leaders? As our work force continues to evolve, this will become a major issue for organisations in attracting and retaining good people to their work force.

So what is the portrait of a good leader? Let’s imagine for a moment that you have a blank canvas that we are going to paint the picture of a good leader. You have assembled the brushes and the different colours of paint that you will use.The colours of paint are the qualities or behaviours that you are going to use to paint this portrait. The brushes and brush strokes that you use reflect the experiences that you have had to date in your many interactions with supervisors and managers.

Let’s begin to create your portrait. As you begin to draw the outline of the perfect supervisor/manager you will focus in on the gender of that person. I will leave that decision to you! Each of the colours that you have assembled will reflect the different qualities and behaviours that are important to you. They will reach out and touch your personal values and will begin to shape and mould the connection/relationship that you will develop with your supervisor/manager.

Some of the qualities and behaviours that you will likely think about are; credibility, interpersonal skills, relationship building, honesty, vision, empowerment, trustworthy, passionate, calm personality, flexible, confident, and sets high standards for his or her self. Each of these qualities will take on a colour that will result in you painting a picture of your ideal supervisor/manager.

As you begin your brush strokes across the canvas, your past experiences whether they be positive or negative will determine the images that you portray on the canvas. As you continue to paint that image, the colours will become more vibrant as you get closer to the ideal image that you want to portray.

When we think back to the situation earlier in this article, what sort of brush strokes would we see on my colleague’s canvas and what colours would be used to reflect what they saw in their current supervisor/leader? What brush strokes and colours would we see if my colleague where to paint their ideal supervisor/manager? Does your canvas reflect your personal values which also shape the organisation and supervisor/manager that is the best fit for you as a person?

What does your canvas look like?

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