Dan Rockwell, who blogs under the title Leadership Freak and is a co-author of The Character Based Leader, says there are six signs of successful leadership.

  1. Teams respect and leverage each other’s talent. 
  2. Management has focus.
  3. Teammates believe they matter.
  4. Individuals feel safe enough to try new things.
  5. Organizations enjoy high morale.
  6. Everyone embraces a “make it better” approach. “Good enough” isn’t good enough.

The author, who has degrees in theology, construction and design, and a MBA, also says there are six behaviors that can deliver “the real results of leadership.” They are:

1. Eliminate distractions. Define what matters more by helping people stop wasting time, talent, and resources on what matters least. Try asking, “What are you doing that prevents you from giving your time and energy to what matters now?”

2. Highlight progress while working to make things better. “How can we make this better?”

3. Call out drifting. “You’re better than this.” Having real respect for others means you expect them to bring their best. You can help followers by having conversations that cover the topics:

  • What do you want for yourself?
  • What are you actively doing to achieve what you want for yourself?
  • How can I maximize your potential?
  • How can we hold each other accountable?

4. Point out what isn’t working with a solution orientation. Lean into awkward situations. When they occur, you need to have conversations that raise these questions:

  • This doesn’t seem right. Is it ok with you?
  • This isn’t what we agreed to do. How can we get back on track?
  • We’re falling short. What can we do to make this better?

5. Set measurable goals with people, not for them. Ask these questions:

  • How might you build on past success?
  • How might you reach higher?
  • When will the next step be done?
  • How are you challenging yourself?
  • Overall tip: Embrace aspiration over irritation.

6. Coach – don’t drive – people to achievement. Research shows that internal motivation is much more powerful than external motivation. That means helping people connect and commit to organizational goals works much better than either threats or unremitting pressure.