From Great Employee to Great Leader: Core Values That Shape Leadership

Written by Jay McDonald on .

What makes a great leader? Many people have attempted to answer this question, and some have had more success than others. And while the debate continues, there’s consensus that all great leaders have one thing in common: they all started out as great employees. The truth is, many of the values we promote in leadership take shape much earlier in one’s career. Here’s a peek at the core values that shape true leadership and how these values can be translated from being a great employee to becoming a great leader. Courage Unfortunately, we don’t have enough leaders today who have courage. In the modern world, we seldom face a lion or a shark in the wild, but we will encounter these same “animals” in the boardroom and we need to exhibit bravery when we do. Courage comes from accepting responsibility for our actions. It comes from not throwing blame at others, but instead, giving credit when credit is due. Having vulnerability and admitting when you are wrong is courageous. Great leaders learn from their mistakes, and live by the same standards they expect of others. They create a culture that rewards open communication and values truth and integrity in their team members.  Humble Self-Confidence Many leaders struggle to find that line between having the self-confidence they need to lead, without coming across as arrogant or haughty. The best leaders are firm in their convictions, but have learned the art of humble self-confidence. Preparation builds competence and competence is what builds trust, and those with the ability to exercise humility in decision-making and delegation will come out ahead. They identify what it is that they are good at and highlight these strengths, but they also recognize and respect the talent around them and understand how they can be utilized to make up for their own weaknesses. Strength Of Character It isn’t easy to do what’s right when it’s unpopular. Yet great leaders have strength of character that lets them pursue the right path despite adversity. They’re tough-minded, but compassionate, and have the conviction to make sacrifices when necessary that will result in the betterment of all. They’re disciplined, self-motivated and able to use every minute of every day in the most productive way possible. Is it possible to make the move from great employee to great leader? Absolutely. And with the right foundation, it’s an easier transition. Modern leaders who are revered, exercise courage under fire, possess humble self-confidence, and demonstrate the strength of character to meet adversity head-on when faced with tough decisions, will come out on top.

Jay McDonald

With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands- on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve greater results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives. Connect with Jay McDonald on Google+

Board Positions & Designations

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