Alumnus David Beeder, who is currently an associate financial analyst for Johnson & Johnson, is the guest author for our Snapshot Series article this week. He gives great tips on being an effective leader and creating value for the people you lead. Check out his comments below.
Leading With Value
I’d like to first express my gratitude to the chapter for having me come in and speak. It was great to see many familiar faces, and to meet some of the new members. What you are doing in the chapter is some of the most invaluable experiences you will have in college.
Much of what we spoke about revolved around the effective communication of young professionals. We talked about the balance of qualitative and quantitative information acting in step with the management of high and low level information. Master the spot of communication, and you might as well skip the first 35 years of your career, but what’s the fun in that? We are wired to always try to build and develop our skill sets in the professional setting, and this is something that takes serious practice.
I’ve recently read a great article from Jeff Boss, former Navy SEAL turned leadership consultant, on the 8 qualities consistent with leaders who create value. I’ll highlight a few of my paraphrased remarks along the way.
1. Be positive, but not illusory.
Negative attitudes will undermine other leaders and potentially question what you say behind people’s backs. At the same time, the false sense of security and accuracy is easy to read through.
2. Be confident, but not arrogant.
This one is tough, because the line between these two is clear, but that line is hard to find. Confidence shows true belief in your abilities. Arrogance looks the same, but many times is a self-serving mechanism. Jeff cites research showing arrogant workers performing worse in their jobs; their arrogance provides a sense of security.
3. Be quiet, but not “loud.”
Leaders don’t have all the answers, nor should they. That’s an unfair assumption to make of a human being. Rather, leaders create environments with the appropriate resources and people to find the answers.
4. Be early, but never late.
Jeff says arriving late will show one of three things: you don’t care, you weren’t prudent enough to wrap up what was before, or you simply are not interested in what is to be said.
5. Be random, but not predictable.
What this can signal to those you lead is that it is OK to have creativity and innovation, and failure is only a mechanism of learning, not the end-all-be-all method of judgment. Oh by the way, innovation is how businesses evolve.
6. Be candid, but not rude.
The transparency of the project, company, restructuring, etc. will let your workers know that you care enough about them to give them the real word, whether that’s a positive or concerning event. Rudeness, however, will turn someone off to your leadership immediately, always.
7. Be trusting, but not gullible.
Jeff quotes a common saying that the best way to gain trust is to extend trust. He caveats it with a warning that everyone wants time with the leader, but not all for the right reasons. Some just need the face time (see also: arrogance). Be very clear with how you are extending trust and the outcomes that creates for your objectives.
8. Be thankful. Always.
Leadership is not a structural attribute; it is present at all levels of organizations. Jeff says it’s about enabling and disabling people and opportunities when necessary.