October 9, 2011

Leadership - "Good Leaders Are Not Born...."

In the last blog post, "The Volunteer,"  I highlighted the most effective ways to build your professional reputation on the chosen road to HBA leadership. From this point, leadership can go in many directions. Some may be content with their leadership role solely as an engaged volunteer while others may want to move forward and choose to take a deeper role within the HBA. If this is your chosen decision there are something you  may want to identify to see if the next levels of leadership are for you. Today's blog will talk about the needed traits that are the foundation for a good leader. These are my opinions that I have gathered over the years from watching some of the greats of our Federation.  The most important thing to remember is this; HBA leaders are working with multiple personalities that are VOLUNTEERS, not paid employees. If you could learn to effectively lead volunteers imagine what you can do as a leader in your company with employees. Benefit of volunteer leadership? Management training!

"Good Leaders Are Not Born...."
While they may not be born as leaders they certainly were born with attributes that can develop leadership. If you have the desire and the willpower, you could become a good leader. This desire needs to come from inside. Desire is not a thing you are born with. Desire is created by a "want" or multiple "wants." Passion stokes that desire. The more you want, the greater the desire, the fiercer the passion. Passion comes in many forms and, depending on what region of the country you are from, can be embraced or misinterpreted. One member’s passion is another member’s description of a fanatic. Some areas of our Federation are fast paced and adapt on the fly while others are slower and controlled. While too much passion CAN bring you to the edge, lack of desire or interest will thwart even the most passionate causes. Certain qualities will compliment desire and willpower and help you become not just good but an effective leader. 

Let's look at the qualities needed for an effective leader in the home builders association;

  1. Passion - overmastering feeling that delivers a drive for an initiative or objective. I wrote about this earlier; different people have different ways of showing passion. I would rather have a handful of passionate volunteer members as opposed to an army of apathetic followers. 
  2. Commitment - when you dive into the water you can't be a little bit wet. Commitment, particularly when others are counting on you, is 100%.
  3. Integrity - honesty, morality and core values. This truly speaks for itself. 
  4. Understanding - having an understanding of the possible threats to the building industry is critical to leadership. How can you lead if you don't have the core purpose of the HBA in thought?
  5. Influential (pull, not push) - volunteers can not be pushed. They have their own lives that can sometimes push them, they don't need that treatment when donating time. In order for you to be an effective leader you have to learn, and it will take time, how to pull volunteers in your direction. Highlight the value of their involvement, the value of the initiative and create the want. Like I wrote earlier; create a want which develops the desire and you will pull out the volunteers passion.
  6. Willingness to admit a mistake - when you decide to go in a particular direction, and you realize you were wrong, do not continue because you don't want to "lose face" with the group. People respect others who can admit they are wrong and will be furthered respected by assessing the mistake, asking others for guidance and then move forward.
  7. Ability to listen - Sales 101: Listen. When you do all the talking others will close down shop. Dictatorships fail, democracies prevail. 
  8. Decisiveness - when a decision is made, after discussion and direction, make it happen, move forward. The time for additional conversation happens when there is a need to adapt. 
  9. Consistency - most people like to know when they work with someone that they have direction, focus and can be relied upon. This consistent approach doesn't mean being flexible. It means being reliable and a straight talker.

You may not have been born a leader but you you may very well have been born with certain traits that could develop and help you become a good leader. You have to have that "want."

Next week's blog will explain the different leadership styles.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader" ~ John Adams

Note: This series of upcoming blog posts are based on The NAHB Associates power point presentation titled "Unlocking the Mystery of Associate Leadership." Thank you to the New Jersey Builders Association for donating the presentation to NAHB so that our associate members across the Federation could help those who want to contribute their skills and talents in helping the HBAs.  ΓΌ

1 comment:

Diana Guess said...
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