Exemplary leaders possess a high degree of self-awareness.

are born…not made!”  How many of us have
heard this often repeated myth? The truth however, is far different. Exemplary
leadership is the result of consistent action, and focus over time on a few
simple principles. It is a process. It involves practices, skills, and
abilities; and they are not for the chosen few. They can be learned, refined
and perfected.

Decades of research have identified a few key attributes that are the foundation for success of the most effective leaders. These traits are not complicated—they don’t require an advanced degree or any specialized training. They are straightforward, practical and will significantly and directly impact individual, team and organizational performance.

By exhibiting these five leadership attributes, you will ignite extraordinary performance and results from your employees and your organization.

Model the Way – Walk the Talk

Inspire a Clear and Shared Vision of the Future

Be Open to and Seek the Perspectives of Others

Enable and Empower Others to Exercise Action

Celebrate, Encourage and Appreciate

Let’s explore each of these five attributes.

Model The Way – Walk The Talk

Model The Way – Walk The Talk:  As a
leader, you are being thoroughly scrutinized at all times.  Every word you utter, every signal you send through
your body language and the tonality of your voice, and most importantly the
congruency between what you say and what you do.  The quickest way to derail even the most
eloquently and inspiring communication of a new key strategy or key initiative is
to behave in a manner that does not mirror the message. 


What messages are your actions sending?

Consider the following: Are you demonstrating through your actions and
the experiences you are creating for those around you the same urgency and
engagement you expect from them?  Are your
actions vividly and tellingly indicating to those you lead your degree of
involvement, interest and commitment? 
Are you and other senior leaders openly and consistently displaying your
alignment and commitment, or is there even a hint of dissension or discord?

Inspire a Clear and Shared Vision of the Future

Inspire a Clear and Shared Vision of the Future:  You
need not possess exemplary oratory skills or be as compelling as Martin Luther
King or as motivating as Tony Robbins. 
Employees want a leader who can plainly paint a clear picture of the
future, as well as how that future benefits every employee, team and
stakeholder.  This is not a one and done
deal.  That vision must be consistently
communicated as often, and in as many formats and using as many vehicles as
possible.  When performed effectively,
employees will voluntarily engage and choose to go above and beyond what is
required to help achieve the vision. 
When the vision is vague, cloudy or unclear, employees often feel
frustrated, stressed, and anxious.  This
leads to misunderstandings, confusion, excuse-making and a focus on ‘keeping
busy’ rather than a focus on the ‘must-achieve desired results.’


Lack of clarity leads to a focus on ‘activity’ rather than your most important desired ‘results.’ Being ‘busy’ will not necessarily produce desired results.

Consider the following:  How compelling is your vision – whether you lead a team of 12 or an organization of 12,000 – to all members of the team?  Can those you lead, see themselves in that future (it is difficult to act in manner incongruent with how one views themself in the future)?  How often do you communicate your vision?  Can those you lead articulate the vision as clearly and plainly as you? How much time do you spend telling people what to do and how to do it, because that is a red-flag?  Do your employees possess a can-do mindset and individually consider, “what else can I do?” to ensure the vision is realized?  Can employees at all levels see how achieving the vision will help them professionally? Personally? How it benefits their team? The Organization? All stakeholders? 

Be Open To and Seek the Perspectives of Others

Be Open To and Seek the Perspectives of Others: In most organizations, teams do not make decisions, leaders make decisions. However, the most effective leaders are certain to obtain as many perspectives as possible prior to making a decision.  The key reasoning behind this is – no one person can see all there is to see.  No matter how skilled, or educated you may be, you simply cannot see every possibility, opportunity, obstacle or challenge. 


A single perspective is the enemy of reality!

Every human being sees the world
differently.  By being open to the
perspectives of others, it enables leaders to make better-informed
decisions.  Additionally, when those you
lead feel they have been heard, they are much more likely to engage – even if
they did not get their way.  No involvement
often leads to no commitment.  People do
not have their way, but they want to have their say.  Leaders that are most trusted by those they
lead are open to perspectives of others, communicate openly and candidly, ask
for and offer feedback, and are willing to address the elephant in the room.

Consider the following:  How
often have you made decisions without seeking insight from a variety of other
sources (employees, partners, vendors, customers, etc.)?  If someone were to ask those you lead how
involved they are in new strategies, initiatives and change efforts, how would
they reply?  In the last week, how many
of your employees have you asked to provide you feedback?  How often do you personally engage employees
at all levels of the organization to ask what the organization can do to
improve?  Do you currently have the
levels of trust, collaboration and teamwork that you desire?  When was the last time someone other than a
direct report volunteered a new idea or his or her point of view?

Enable and Empower Others to Exercise Action


Do employees come to work every day engaged, passionate and with a feeling that are doing something meaningful?

Enable and Empower Others to Exercise Action:  Top
leaders create a winnable game for their employees by helping them become clear
on what is most important – the vision of the future – and involving them in
determining how to most effectively play the game.  Employees are most engaged in their work when
they believe they are playing a game they can win.  Once the desired results are identified,
leaders must be sure to establish a starting line (a metric of where we stand
today), a finish line (a metric of where we need to be) and a deadline (by
when).  This formula becomes the LAG
measure that must be achieved.  Together,
leaders and employees then work together to identify the LEAD measures (actions
and behaviors) that are predictive and influence-able that will produce the
desired result.  Exemplary leaders
understand that those closest to the work often have the most impactful and
innovative ideas about how to improve operations, systems and processes. Leaders
must be ready willing and able to remove obstacles and barriers that impede

Consider the following:  Are
those you lead so clear on what is most important, how it is being measured,
and the results you must achieve that they are able to self-select the
appropriate actions to achieve it?

How many of those you lead are proactive and
find new ways of producing desired results? 
How many of those you lead wait to be told what to do?   How often do team members volunteer to
become involved in key projects? Are your employees proactive in searching out
solutions when confronted with barriers or obstacles?  

Celebrate, Encourage and Appreciate

Celebrate, Encourage and Appreciate:  The
deepest craving of human beings is the need to be appreciated.  When individuals or teams receive sincere
appreciative feedback, they will exhibit that particular behavior more often
and to a deeper degree.  Think about the
last time someone offered you appreciative feedback.  More than likely, any time you interact with
that person you think about that feedback. 
Top leaders will ‘water what they want to see grow.’  In other words, they will provide
appreciative feedback on the behaviors and actions that will accelerate the
team’s ability to achieve desired results. 
However, that appreciative feedback, in and of itself, is not enough. In
addition to knowing what one is doing well (appreciative feedback) they must
know how they can become even more effective (constructive feedback). Do not
confuse this simple feedback process (Appreciative – what you are doing
well/Constructive – what I think you can do to be even better) with ‘constructive
criticism,’ which is an oxymoron. The combination of both
(appreciative/constructive) helps people grow and develop.


Offer genuine appreciative feedback when you observe behaviors you want to see displayed more often in your culture

Many goals and strategies that are vitally
important take months or years to achieve. 
Celebrating short-term wins is important for esprit de corps and to
convert the skeptics.  Folks need to feel
and see that progress is being made toward the desired vision. 

Consider the following:  When offering feedback to employees, do you focus primarily on what they are doing wrong, what they are doing well, or a combination of both?  What are the behaviors that will accelerate achievement of your desired results and how often do you offer appreciative feedback to those that exhibit those specific behaviors and actions?  How did you celebrate the last significant win by your team or a team member?  Was it done publicly?  How many of your employees truly feel valued in the workplace?

Start right now. Select one of the attributes detailed above and develop a plan to implement it. Incorporate all five into your daily routine and you will be astonished with the results.

About The Speaker/Author:  Watch Mike Here –https://vimeo.com/315167685


Mike Evans is an award-winning author/speaker
and Managing Partner of QuestMark, and has developed a unique perspective from
20+ years of working alongside a star studded list of world-renowned thought
leaders, including: Dr. John Kotter, Dr. Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Jim Kouzes,
Hyrum Smith, Steve Farber and Chris McChesney. Mike served in executive
leadership and consulting roles with Kotter International, FranklinCovey, and
Tom Peters Company.


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In addition to being a leading authority on Unleashing
Personal and Organizational Accountability
, clients rely upon Mike’s
solutions to; Accelerate Change, Shape Their Optimal Culture, Flawlessly Execute Key
Strategies, Ignite Leadership Capacity at all Levels, Amplify Employee
Engagement, Thrive and Excel in the Age of Disruption, Embrace The Role of CEO
of Your Life, Career and Destiny, and Cultivate Peak Performance.

31 of Fortune 50 are clients. Mike works with
organizations around the globe and in virtually every arena, from the tech
sector to financial services, manufacturing, health care, hospitality,
entertainment, retail, and the US Government. Clients include: Intel, Capital
One, Apple, Caterpillar, PNC Bank, Cargill, Pfizer, General Mills, H&R
Block, The United States Navy, John Deere, Fidelity Investments, Monsanto,
Google, US Steel, Rite Aid, Agilent Technologies, Johnson & Johnson,
Symantec, Cigna Corporation, ITPA, US Department of Commerce, BNY Mellon,
Oracle, Astra Zeneca, Baxter International Inc., Shell Oil, UPMC, Citrus Valley
Health, McAfee, American Airlines, Masonite, Novartis, Ernst & Young, ACE
Hardware, DuPont USA, Quest Diagnostics, State Farm, BP Oil, Heinz USA, NAFCU,
and NASA.

Watch Mike With Clients Here: https://vimeo.com/315167685

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Connect with Mike – mike@realmikeevans.com


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