In 1999, when I began managed a staffing department, I started following ERE.net. ERE.net was created in 1998 as an online gathering place for recruiters to network and share best practices. I quit following ERE.net when I quit handling our company’s staffing function, but in recent years I’ve been following its sister site, TLNT.com, which provides human resource professionals with news and analysis across the whole HR profession.
I hadn’t thought much about ERE.net for several years. But I recently came across a 2002 article from their newsletter I had saved. The article was titled Leadership 101: Beware of Bosses Bearing Platitudes, by Ken Gaffey, published on February 19, 2002. Amazingly, I was able to find the link to this article. Nothing ever dies on the Internet.
Mr. Gaffey’s wisdom is as true today as it was in 2002. He describes twelve traits that leaders must have:
- Fairness and impartiality
- Loyalty to organization over self
- Consistency—no moodiness
- Setting a strong example
- No whining or gossip
- No favorites
- Knowledge and intelligence
- Resolutely following the course
- Volunteering—rising to the occasion
I might quibble with the wording and order of these leadership traits, but they are all important. Empathy would be higher on my list. “No favorites” says the same thing to me as “Fairness and impartiality.”
The point of Mr. Gaffey’s title about “platitudes” is that leaders must lead through their actions, not their words. We have all suffered through bosses who did not lead by example in one or more of these traits.
I suggest you read Mr. Gaffey’s full article, then think about how you and other leaders in your organization act.
How do you measure up as a leader, using these traits as a guidepost?