I was pleasantly surprised and wonderfully rewarded by the success of launching our new book, Predictable Results. I find it curious that I’ve been asked several times about Steve Tamasi of Boston Centerless (Chapter 7) and what I think has made him successful as a CEO. I’ve been considering this question quite a bit, and finally, think I have my answer.
First, this question caused me to think, sort my thoughts, and try to distill an answer. The thinking process led me to a broader question. Why does any leader or CEO succeed when others fail? I’ve known CEOs that run in the same circles, belong to the same mentor groups, attend the same conferences and hear the same speakers – even read the same books, yet one has succeeded and the other failed.
As I sorted my experience with great leaders from four continents, I realized that one could identify distinct leadership patterns. These patterns not only indicated the probability of success, they can be learned and practiced as a habit by anyone wanting to be a great leader and grow their business.
The attributes I share below are clearly exhibited by Steve at Boston Centerless, but in addition, practiced by hundreds of other successful leaders I’ve worked with worldwide.
Here are the patterns of a leadership ETHIC, the major component of your success as a leader.
E – Eager to Learn. From a consultant perspective, I see three types of CEO learners; ones that anticipate learning, ones that are able to learn, and a few too arrogant to learn. If you don’t anticipate or aren't able to learn, your chances of success are diminished. Eager to learn CEOs love ideas, content, reading or watching videos that expand their thinking. They have a thirst for learning.
T – Transparent. Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust between you and your team. When there is clarity in job role, scorecard and expectations, when team members are kept in the know of company plans and priorities, and there is clarity on core values and purpose, your employees are more likely to trust you as a leader.
H – Humility. Great leaders have humility. They realize that they don’t have all the answers and that they can’t build a great growth company all by themselves. They understand that they must grow their people as they grow the business. People are the most important asset.
I – Investor. Any true leader is an investor. They willingly invest real dollars into outside expertise, experience, training, development, and learning in order to grow. They expect a return on that investment so they don’t invest in everything, they invest where they expect to see long-term value and return on their investment.
C – Coachable. The final letter, “C”, stands for coachable. One of the defining traits that differentiate high performing CEOs and leaders is what I call learning agility, an ability to quickly learn how to be effective in each new situation and challenge. When leaders have learning agility, it can be leveraged quickly and effectively with an experienced coach. The leader must accept coaching for this to work. Sure, there are those that have succeeded based solely on their learning ability who do not accept coaching, but they work harder, it takes longer, and the chance of failure is increased. Find a good business coach, and you’ll grow faster.
Build your Leadership ETHIC by being Eager to Learn, Transparent, and practicing Humility. As you Invest in yourself, and you’re open to Coaching, you’ll be like Steve Tamasi of Boston Centerless and, avoid the failure of many CEOs. Specifically, you’ll be exhibiting the distinct patterns I’ve identified in great leaders across industry, country, and revenue generated. Lead on!
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