What Makes a Great Leader - Valley Behavioral Health
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May 22, 2020 By Gary Larcenaire

We are getting ready to record a Vini interview and those are so much fun! You will not want to miss this one! They just get better and better!! Listen in! If you are a listener get one of your “Luddite” (recognizable by their general tech-resistant stance, and cherished flip phone) co-workers to give it a try! So I came across this on LinkedIn: “10 qualities of the best leaders”

1. Vision: They identify priorities and focus the team on them.
2. Create Order: they organize and assign tasks and responsibilities and follow up on results.
3. Relationships: they invest in building relationships across their organizations (up, across, and down), they work hard to maintain them.
4. Stability: They are calm under pressure.
5. Responsive: they are quickly and consistently responsive to staff needs.
6. Decisive: They take charge, yet balance that with leveraging the strengths of their team.
7. Task-oriented; they get things done.
8. Learners: They don’t necessarily start with or know the answers but ask a lot of questions to “diagnose” a situation.
9. Morale; they deeply care about their staff and attend to their team’s wellness.
10. Judgment; they make decisions after weighing and considering all available information.

This is a good list for sure and there are zillions more online. But these lists are 1/2 of the equation because the secret to high performing organizations like Valley lies in the ability for everyone on a team to be as good at FOLLOWING as leading. That includes me. That includes you. I engage in “following” behaviors more than “leadership” on many days. Most days even. In team sports we talk about effective “offense” and “defense” and generally accept that skills on “both sides” of the ball are critical. What makes a great follower? A great leader, according to many authors on the subject. According to David Lim, who blogs about such things:“… Following someone requires carefully listening to instructions, carrying out the necessary job that is being delegated, being inquisitive and asking questions to guide the leader at every step of the way, and being the supporting body of the team to get the task done effectively…”According to J. Norman Baldwin, professor of political science at the University of Alabama super effective followers share these 9 traits:

1. They’re effective communicators.
2 Their communications are understandable, accurate, complete, and timely.
3. They’re hustlers.
4. They have strong social skills.
5. They’re team players.
6. They’re responsible.
7. They’re flexible.
8. They have integrity.
9. They’re committed.


We glorify the quarterback who had a great passing game. Sometimes forgetting the “supporting role” of so many others on the team. Let’s try to glorify the skill set of effective followers moving forward. Are you a good follower? Because if your team is successful, you probably are. You just don’t think about it maybe. Even if you are “in charge”, you need to be an excellent follower. The world needs more skilled followers. Not “sheeple”. Informed, strong resilient gifted followers.

Best, Gary

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