Sunday, April 7, 2013

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Great Leader? Take The Test...

Most everyone, regardless of their current role, wonders if they’ve got the right stuff to become a strong leader. Today is your chance to find out.
I became aware this week of an interesting platform and philosophy of character-based leadership created by Aprille Trupiano, an International Business Coach in St. Louis, MO. Her philosophy stresses the principles (not the tactics) that turn strong individuals into prospective leaders, and that will invariably make the difference for current leaders between beinggood and rising to all-out great. Aprille’s experience is that when leadership principles are instilled and practiced, the tactics arise as natural behaviors.
This is a philosophy that resonates very much with my own.  My emphasis and focus, as readers of this column are aware, is on the 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning:  Respect, Belief, Loyalty, Commitment, Trust, Courage and Gratitude. (It’s also the focus of my upcoming book, due out Aug. 6.)
Aprille speaks and writes about 5 C’s of Leadership that have the potential not only to change the course of business organizations, but to change families, neighborhoods, community endeavors—perhaps even the world.
I endorse this philosophy fully. In summary, the 5 C’s are as follows:
#1: Demonstrate CHARACTER
Of the many facets of leadership none rank higher than strong character, which is illustrated through unwavering integrity.  Be impeccable with your word.  Do what you said you’d do, when you said you’d do it, and do it with excellence even if (and especially when) nobody is watching.  Do the right thing, even when it’s uncomfortable, difficult or bears a high cost.  Integrity defines leadership.

#2: Live your COMMITMENT
Aprille Trupiano is an International Business Coach and author and the host of the Click! Power Hour weekly radio show.
Know your commitment. Create a clear Vision Statement for your life and your business that inspires you and encompasses your highest values and priorities.  Be committed even when you don’t want to, don’t feel like it, or it isn’t fun.  Standing firm in your commitments will push you to achieve anything you say that you will, regardless of feelings, circumstances or challenges.  Commitment inspires leadership.
#3: Express COURAGE
Don’t wait to feel courageous.  Act courageous even when you feel it the least.  Only when you act in the face of fear do you validate your true bravery and boldness.  Be audacious in accepting challenges.  Calculate your risks to help reduce apprehension, then defy your fear and step forward.  Courage cultivates leadership.
#4: Radiate CONFIDENCE
Carry yourself with confidence that is defined by your life experience.  Remember that you bring unique gifts, talents and skills to any business equation that no one else could possibly bring.  Precisely because no one else has walked your path, you embody expertise and wisdom that is incomparable. Confidence nurtures leadership.
#5: Voice your COMMUNICATION
Say what needs to be said – even when no one wants to hear it–or better yet, when no one else is willing to say it.  With compassion and diplomacy, communicate openly and directly.  Allow others to communicate freely and honestly as well, without fear of retribution or judgment.  Sincere and genuine communication is a contribution, entirely of its own. No leader has been truly great without strong communication. Communication conveys leadership.
Do you have what it takes? There is more on this topic, I understand, and I invite anyone interested in doing so to connect with Aprille Trupiano directly, either through this column or at her website, She is clearly a remarkable leader herself.
Based on these 5 elements, do you have what it takes to become a great leader? The following test, shared with Aprille’s permission, will help you decide. As you read the following 20 statements, award yourself a score for each answer, as follows:
2=Rarely true
3=Sometimes true
4=Often true
5=Always true
At the end, tally the points to determine your score. Do your best to answer with candor. Perhaps it would be an interesting exercise to ask other trusted associates to score you on their perception of your strengths in these 5 areas as well. Here goes:
  • I do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’ll do it – with excellence (even when no one is watching).
  • Others view me as trustworthy and often place their trust in me.
  • I am 100% count-on-able.
  • I am someone whom others view as a role model.
  • My Vision is aligned with the company’s culture and mission.
  • My daily actions, behaviors, attitudes and words reflect my Vision such that it inspires and motivates others.
  • I develop leadership in others to further the Vision, culture and mission.
  • I have a Plan and act on it daily to advance myself, my team, and the Vision.
  • I rarely have conflicts with my subordinates, peers and supervisors and when they arise, they are resolved quickly and to everyone’s benefit.
  • I speak the “unspeakable” to benefit the team.
  • I am able to give and receive positive and corrective feedback to generate productive results.
  • My subordinates, peers and colleagues feel free to talk openly and honestly with me – and often do.
  • I am confident my subordinates, peers and supervisors see me as credible and effective.
  • I am completely comfortable being at the forefront and leading others.
  • I always seek opportunities to grow and learn.
  • I know I have the skills, talents, experience and energy to lead others.
  • I act, especially in the face of fear or uncertainty, when making business decisions.
  • I am willing to take great risks, while calculated, to reach a worthy future outcome.
  • I am eager to be the first, especially when implementing new things.
  • I always go beyond the “No” to find possibilities.
Do you have your score? Identify where you fit within the following outcomes:
0-60 Points: You are a seedling ready to be planted in fertile conditions so that your leadership strengths can emerge. Think of things you can implement each day in your work to raise your confidence, increase your courage, enhance your communication ability and strengthen your character. Read inspiring books – autobiographies of great leaders through history and current inspirational leadership books. Talk to the people around you are strong role models for character-based leadership traits. Look for ways to emulate what you see in these leaders and follow in their footsteps, one step at a time.
61-80 Points: You are already living your leadership potential to some degree. Now’s the time to rev your game to the next level. Play bigger. Play louder. Play harder. You’re right on the edge, and the great leader in you is ready to emerge. How? Ask for feedback constantly from your subordinates, your peers and your supervisors. Ask them to challenge you at work in ways that will cause you to stretch beyond your comfort zone, to create a shift in your growth and development. Find a mentor or a coach (perhaps even several) whom you trust and who will hold your feet to the fire. Look for help from someone who won’t let you off the hook easily, to help push you to the level you can’t imagine just yet.
81-100 Points: You are a leadership master. You are someone who leads with clarity, with vision, and with heart and strength. You know who you are, and you aren’t afraid to stand out from others to make the difference you are able to make. What’s next? Be the example of the kind of leader others want to become. Open up your knowledge, your experience and your wisdom and give it away freely, to create the next generation of leaders. This is your legacy. Start living it more freely than before, and begin the process right now.
I applaud Aprille for her great insight and thinking in the creation of these five keys and I look forward to getting to know her better in the seasons to come. I also welcome the chance to write and present many more ideas for putting these character-based leadership traits into work. Thank you, Aprille.
Finally –a personal note on behalf of my own company, Fishbowl, this week. We discovered yesterday that our company and product (Fishbowl Inventory) has been named Utah’s Best of State software developer/publisher for 2013 (a category that includes some 3,000 companies in Utah) for the second year in a row. This is an acknowledgement that is particularly sweet not only due to incredible field of technology companies in our region, but because it is based on contribution to quality of life and innovation along with achievement in our field of use. Of any award, this one represents the things we strive to stand for within our own leadership quest. Thanks for for allowing us a moment to share that celebration with you.
As to your own leadership capabilities, where do you stand? Where do you have room to improve? As always, we welcome your ideas, your observations, and thoughts.

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