Leadership defined with four simple words.

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I have noticed this phenomenon occurring more than a handful of times so I believe it can be categorized as a "working rule"... or at the very least, a nice segue. 

The working rule goes something like this - When asked the question "How are you doing?", a North American will 99 out of 100 times tell you they are "good", "wonderful", "doing really well", or something to this effect, whereas a European will offer a response more accurate to their current well being -  For a European, the question is not simply a social courtesy as you buy a coffee, but a true opportunity to engage, share, connect and tell you "how they are really doing".

"Working Rule" or nice segue, this does offer an opportunity to look at four words as a reflection of leadership.

A quick Internet search on the "qualities of good leadership" will offer up 57,500,000 results in speedy order - All offering a perspective on stepping up your leadership game.

A FastCompany article for example, offers up these five qualities essential for leaders: 

  • The first of these is being flexible.
  • The second characteristic is being able to communicate.
  • The third characteristic of good leaders - or, perhaps, a group of characteristics - is having courage, tenacity and patience.
  • A fourth necessary characteristic is the combination of humility and presence.
  • The fifth and final characteristic of a successful leader is being responsible.

A Forbes article offered up 10 Top Qualities of Leadership; Inc.com offered up 9 traits; CNN.com had 23... all followed by 57,499,996 other perspectives. Although I have not read them all, I will say with great certainty that PEOPLE are the central theme of any perspective on leadership. And this brings us neatly back to the question, "How are you doing?" - A personal question that creates connection, understanding, and the opportunity for discussion; isn't that what leadership is all about?  I will say, "almost"

If PEOPLE are the central theme of any perspective on leadership, then the question "How are you doing?" falls short with its singular perspective focusing on a person. Leadership needs a more rounded discussion that comes with another four words, "How am I doing?" When you bring this question into the conversation, you immediately bring in a second perspective and make PEOPLE the central theme - Now you have leadership.

And that working rule that started this whole thing becomes a solid reminder that with these questions, you have to explore any answers deeper and move past the veneer of the initial response... that is where the leadership gold is found.

Besides, what would you think of a leader who didn't ask, "How am I doing?"