"Where's the beef" in your leadership? - Part 2

By Rob Nelson

  • print
  • comment
In part 1 of my blog on "Where's the beef" in your leadership? I talked about the need for personal leadership principles and traits. I discussed the value in being able to really articulate what the DNA of your leadership is and how you actualize and develop it every day. I reviewed the 11 leadership principles of the US Marine Corps and suggested some practical steps to accomplish #3 "Know your people and look out for their welfare." I'll shift now to cover the leadership traits.

It may sound funny but Marines actually memorize the traits by heart with a clever 14 letter acronym: JJ DID TIE BUCKLE. The goal: to know the traits, to understand and live them, and to constantly develop one's ability to provide great leadership. Every Marine Corps officer knows these traits and the journey to live and develop them in others is a path to developing outstanding, principled leadership. Here are the fourteen traits with very brief comments:

  1. Justice: Be impartial, fair and consistent in your dealings as a cornerstone of trust.
  2. Judgment: Weigh facts, pros and cons and possible actions and make sound and appropriate decisions. Don't be rash.
  3. Dependability: Perform and deliver reliably, constantly. Get the job done. Follow through.
  4. Initiative: Act. Don't wait for others to push or ask you. Don't be the block against progress. Follow though, be proactive and close the loop. Be inclusive.
  5. Decisiveness: Make decisions as needed in a clear and timely manner and actually stick with decisions that make sense; don't 'waffle.'
  6. Tact: Maintain good relationships; avoid offense by doing and saying the right thing at the right time. Be respectful. Treat others well, politely and behave appropriately and professionally. Disagree without being disagreeable or nasty.
  7. Integrity: Be honest, truthful, upright and of sound moral principles. Your word is your honor and bond. Do what you say you will do and honor your commitments to others. Admit and own your mistakes.
  8. Enthusiasm: Display a positive attitude, optimism, interest as a force multiplier. Energize others.
  9. Bearing: Carry and present yourself professionally and personally at all times to look and act like a leader (including avoiding vulgar language, keeping a clean professional, groomed appearance and dressing appropriately)
  10. Unselfishness: Don't focus on your own personal gain, comfort and advancement at the expense of others. Look out for others before yourself with mission as the priority.
  11. Courage: Proceed smartly despite danger--including political risk and danger of criticism-- based on what is right.
  12. Knowledge: Keep learning and growing, and demonstrate that development as a leader. Pursue deep understanding of the business, market, customer organization.
  13. Loyalty: Be faithful to your mission, organization, subordinates, peers, and senior leaders. Once a decision has been made, enthusiastically support it even if you disagree. Don't back-stab, undermine. Hold people accountable in a positive, truthful way and use feedback as a help not a weapon.
  14. Endurance: Keep yourself if good mental and physical shape so you can perform better and withstand stress and hardship. Don't whine.

I've found all of these traits to be extremely relevant, comprehensive and impactful in business and in the healthcare industry. Each one is worthy of a short blog, discussion and story. Of the 14 traits, I'd like to highlight ones that have been on my mind lately. Recently I wrote a blog "How can you be a 5 star general to make more of your organization's resources?" that goes to the heart of the trait of "Enthusiasm," which is critical in these dynamic times in healthcare. As retired four-star General Colin Powell (formerly the highest military offer in the United States) says, the great "force multiplier" of enthusiasm is underutilized. Too many leaders whine, complain, and fail to display a good attitude, suggesting that everything is too hard and they are the victims of circumstances. That is not good leadership according to these 14 traits - or in anyone's book, really.

Other underdeveloped traits are Tact, Unselfishness and Courage. Being respectful of others requires tact; there is no excuse for hurting others because you cannot govern your own emotions and conduct. You own your behaviors. We know there are many challenges historically in healthcare with this issue. How are you going to demonstrate tact today? What will you do differently? How will you show respect to others? Showing respect is a global leadership competency that spans across cultures. Unselfishness is another trait that hits my radar a lot. Selfish leaders focus on their personal agendas; exclude others from key discussions or decision processes; hog the limelight and keep choice assignments that could be delegated; and constantly seek to be the "star." In so doing, they develop negative brands and reputations and actually diminish their ability to have leadership impact. Lastly, there is courage. Now more than ever, our leaders need to be courageous to make unpopular, risky decisions; admit failure; be accountable for both the good and the bad; and stop the 'spin' factory. A courageous leader cares more about doing what is right than being right and acts on principle despite personal risks to career and position.

What do you think about leadership traits? Which ones are most relevant for you? How will you define them and how will you actualize them? What is your plan to deliver GREAT leadership? Where is the beef in your leadership?

Comments (1)

To prevent spam, please enter the words below before submitting your comment.

If you would like to receive notifications of new Leadership content posted on Next Level, please enter your email address below.

If you would like to receive notifications of new content posted on Next Level by Rob Nelson, please enter your email address below.

Follow GE Healthcare Solutions on Twitter Follow GE Healthcare Solutions on YouTube Follow GE Healthcare Solutions on Feedburner & RSS Sign Up For the Next Level Newsletter
View All Experts