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Distinct from department heads or other supervisors, this concerns the person at the top of the org. chart – usually titled GM, President or CEO. The best GM’s have traits that distinguish them from most employees, and in fact from most business owner / operators.

1. Vision (In line with the company’s prime directive.)

  1. Leaders create something that didn't exist before.
  2. The difference between leadership and management is leaders provide DIRECTION; good managers provide EFFECTIVENESS. (Management = Doing things right. Leadership = Doing the right things.)
  3. The company must have someone at the top with a vision of how the organization will grow and be shaped in the future:
    1. What businesses do we want to be in; what markets, what industries?
    2. What formula will we use to achieve success and reach our growth and profit goals?

2. Produces Followers

  1. Leaders display an ability to attract strong, capable followers.  They can hold strong colleagues to them.
  2. They inspire others to join the cause, and apply best effort to achieve the leader’s vision.
  3. The best are Servant Leaders – who work to serve rather than control those they are responsible for.

3. Creates a winning culture

  1. They control the group culture. They set the pace.
  2. They maintain harmony in the master-mind group.  They are good at conflict prevention and resolution.
  3. They inspire loyalty to the mission and confidence that the organization will win.

4. Entrepreneurial Ability

  1. New Ventures: Able to a) perceive market demand and disparities, b) and then undertake a new venture c)         to bring to market new, better, different or cheaper products or services d) to profit from a market opportunity. – T&R Peterson
  2. Existing Ventures: Recognizes opportunities to improve practices that will increase sales, increase margin,   reduce expenses, or improve the value of our product or service. They prioritize by highest impact, and drive to get them implemented. – T&R Peterson

5. Business Strategist

  1. Good at conceptualizing the best next move to solve our business problems. Understands and appreciates corporate strategy-board moves. Very familiar with business concepts, business acumen and how to employ them. Like a general partner at a venture capital firm, or a partner at a management consulting company, they think in terms of market demand, disparity and opportunity.
  2. The opposite are most second-generation business owner / managers who do nothing more than steward over the business as it was when they inherited it.
  3. Consistently successful leaders rely on empirical data from direct observation or practical experiments rather than relying on opinion or conventional wisdom. They are fact-based decision makers.

6. Decisive & Self-reliant

  1. Appears confident; comfortable being in-charge; makes decisions timely.
  2. This person at the top must have the strength, and motivation to:
    1. clamor for maximum dividends (like Rockefeller)
    2. clamor for maximum productivity (from equipment and employees – like Carnegie)
    3. clamor for product quality and customer service (like Mr. Royce of Rolls Royce)
    4. remove the poor performers (in accordance with our performance progress procedure)
  3. They possess a leader’s “strength of will” and “independence of mind” to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with established values, performance standards and long-term goals.
  4. They are “Conflict-Ready” not Conflict-Prone but not Conflict-Averse either.

These same traits which are required to establish a new business are required to maintain it. Unless there is a person at the top with these attributes the business will perish. (It may take one or more generations; but without these entrepreneurial traits, in time, even a going concern will cease to be relevant.)  The person at the top of the org. chart must also possess the “Observable Traits” of Management Excellence.  However, if he or she is good at those but ineffective at these Leadership Traits, the business will still perish.    

- Rick and Terry Peterson
Copyright © 2023


Leadership Continuums (Observable In Business)

Leaders need to display some traits consistently like having a Vison that always need to be present. Some subjects are situational and the circumstances being faced determine to what degree the behavior should be employed.

1. Keeping Answers In Suspense
There are times when it is clearly the right thing to do, to draw quick resolution. There are also times when it is the right thing to do to suspend closure, until more data is known.

  1. Not keeping answers in suspense can cause premature closure. Premature closure on a subject, in some cases can cause you to get a bad outcome unnecessarily.
  2. Avoid answering some questions for too long, can do an equal amount of damage to a business in lack of direction, lost time, missed opportunities and disenfranchising people.

2. Risk

  1. Willing to risk when opportunities appear promising.
  2. Some people are risk takers and others can’t tolerate risk. A good leader is “risk-ready” and knows when it is necessary and it serves the outcome. 
  3. Being risk-ready can also arm you to minimize a risk. A good leader can expose all the negative possibilities and guard against the problems showing up.

3. Exposing Or Creating Conflict (Bring conflict into light)

  1. Points out contradictions and willing to upset the status quo.  
  2. Willing to distress co-workers when it serves the outcome.
  3. Gives “Push Back” to expand the possibilities. Leaders expose options of what is possible beyond what others are thinking.
  4. Can send either general “signals” or clear “messages” when deciding how directive the situation calls for.

4. Empower 

  1. Willing to avoid giving others the answer when the time and circumstances permit, allowing the employee to become more self-governing.
  2. Ready to direct and dictate when the conditions call for it. When the time to train isn’t practical or the urgency calls for an immediate and specific result.
  3. Good leaders are able to resist the temptation to give employees solutions when they recognize that the need to move as quickly as possible is less important than the need to develop independence.

5. Structure 
Good leaders are able to work well with a “lack of structure or within heavy structure” depending on which serves their outcome. They can conclude correctly when it is best to allow others to function within a heavily structured environment, a complete lack of structure or something in between.

  1. Not enough structure can cause an amount of chaos which can destroy results. There are some jobs that are very involved, highly detailed and need to follow the exact same procedure to reach the desired outcome. These activities can benefit from a high amount of structure.
  2. Too much structure in some instances can alienate good people when they feel they are not able to make a high impact because of the constraints of the structure.
  3. The right amount of structure can help ensure a good outcome especially when training or when you have the wrong person in the position.

- Rick and Terry Peterson
 Copyright © 2023

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