Three Principle Strengths of Leaders

What is strong leadership in an organization?

Summary
Transcript
Hank Fortener, founder of the non-profit Adopt Together, highlights three strengths of leaders – setting the pace, proactively addressing conflict, and building individual relationships. Do you have these strengths as a leader, and if not, how do you think you can develop them? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below. If I had to give you the three most important leadership qualities in any organization in any field, I would start with being the person who has your foot on the gas. You’re the person who presses forward. And the speed of the leader is the speed of the team. I heard a story about Beyoncé rehearsing for the Grammys. My friend was a dancer for another person and watched Beyoncé. She rehearsed seven hours a day. She was there before all of her backup singers. She stayed after all of them left and sang every note all out. That, to me, is the speed of a leader: “I’m into this more than you’re into this.” People are motivated by that. A leader has that look in his eye that he’s not going to let you lose. He’s going to be the first one in, last one out. The second thing is that the best leaders I know don’t avoid conflict, they lean into it. When they know that a conflict is brewing, they know that they have to get to it before it gets to them. They’re the ones with proactive approaches to conflict resolution. The third one is always rooted in a leader being a person who actually cares about the individuals they’re leading. This is relational leadership: the ability to actually be vulnerable as you have conversations with people that you lead. PI think people are inspired to follow leaders who are vulnerable about their own mistakes and their fears of what’s ahead. People are inspired to follow leaders who know that you can relate to them on a human level. So as a leader, you’re the person with the foot on the gas, you’re the person who faces conflict, and you’re a person who just relates to people as individuals and as humans.  
If I had to give you three things that would be, hey, these are the three talents, these are the three skills, these are the three lists of a good leader, of a great leader in any organization in any field, I would start with you are the person that has your foot on the pedal of the gas. You're the person who presses forward. You're the person who moves forward. And the speed of the leader, speed of the team is the old phrase. That your ability to actually move forward, your ability for a person to know, "This guy's not going to stop.” I heard a story about Beyonce rehearsing for the Grammys. She rehearses seven hours a day. My friend was a dancer for another person and watched Beyonce. She rehearsed seven hours a day. She was there before all of her backup singers. She stayed after all of them left and sang every note all out, full, not half-way, not trying to figure anything out. That, to me, is the speed of a leader is that they go, "No, I'm into this more than you're into this.” People are motivated by that. The strength of a leader is knowing. He has that look in his eye that he's not going to let us lose, and he's not going to be the last one to watch us fail. He's going to be the first one in, last one out. We know that he's there. So that's what I would say is you're the one with the foot on the pedal. Second thing is the best leaders I know, they don't avoid conflict, they lean into it. When they know that a conflict is brewing, they know that they have to get to it before it gets to them. They're the ones that are unbelievably proactive with environmental conflicts. If they go, "Hey, the marketplace is moving this direction, we've got to address this before it addresses us. We've got to address this scenario, this relationship, this lease, this lawsuit. We're going to address this before it addresses us. Or this individual, this person. This person seems disappointed or frustrated, we're going to get to those things beforehand." I think those are the first two, and I think the third one is always rooted in a leader is a person who actually cares about the individuals they're leading. There is a human relational element to it, the ability to actually be vulnerable as you have conversations with people that you lead. Not the stoic, hard-nosed, "I'm a knight in shining armor, and I'm here to lead you." I don't think people in 2015 are inspired to follow those people. I think they're inspired to follow people who are vulnerable about their own mistakes. They're inspired to follow people who are vulnerable about their fears for what's ahead. People are inspired to follow people who know that you can relate to them on a human level. I think the most important thing a person can do, as a leader, is to begin to go, “How can I be comfortable in my own skin?” So that as I'm leading people they get to watch me hustle. They get to watch me chase after conflict, but they really are going to watch me deal with this as a human being so they know we're living on the same page, we’re living in the same world. I'm not a robot that says, “Yes or no? Check yes or no,” but I'm a person who actually engages with them in a relationship. You're the person with the foot on the gas, you're the one who pushes us forward. Second is you're the person who faces conflict and you're proactive about dealing with issues before those issues deal with you. Then, the third thing is you're a person who just relates to people as individuals and as humans. You're the human. You're the guy with skin on.
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Hank Fortener

Hank Fortener is the founder of Adopt Together, a non-profit, crowdfunding platform that bridges the gap between families who want to adopt and the children who need loving homes. He is also Pastor at MOSAIC in Los Angeles and is the ...

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