Being the leader is good, usually, but as several world leaders learned to their cost, a certain amount of restraint can go a long way. It can be a matter of leaders imposing discipline on themselves.
In his book “Seven Disciplines of a Leader,” Jeff Wolf offers his seven traits that are necessary in any leader. Wolf asserts that highly effective leaders practice them to first achieve personal and professional greatness and then lead teams and organizations. The disciplines are:
1. Initiative and Influence. Seize the reins and set an example for others. This can involve personal vision, creative tension and commitment to truth.
2. Vision, Strategy and Alignment. The progression from plans to accomplishments marks the true leader. Effective leaders create and communicate a vision that motivates and inspires.
3. Priorities, Planning and Execution. Execution cannot succeed without the team’s acceptance and endorsement. This means planning, organizing, measuring performance, executing, following up, real-time reporting and problem solving.
4. Social/Emotional/Political Intelligence. Leadership has tribulations, but they have remedies. Always seek feedback, and remember it’s never too late to learn.
5. Reciprocation, Collaboration and Service. Effective leaders must influence and inspire others. Some hands-on advice: Don’t treat people like cogs in a machine and expect them to perform well.
6. Love and Leverage. There is no substitute for passion about work. Do what you love, love what you do.
7. Renewal and Sustainability. Those who practice these avoid common pitfalls. Expect changes in life, and welcome them.