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Top-Shelf Tip No. 74:

"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand."

Colin Powell

I Wanna See You Be B.R.A.V.E.

Whether you lead a company, a team or an individual project, there's probably something that keeps you up at night. What causes you the most frustration and fear?

Some of the most significant leadership pains business people suffer from include falling short of achieving desired results; an inability to attract and retain quality talent; inadequate leadership skills within management; a lack of a values-based culture leading to poor business decisions and unethical behaviors; a disengaged workforce and the absence of an inspired, high-performing executive team.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we're revealing the B.R.A.V.E. model for tackling leadership challenges from Jeff Foley, a speaker and business leadership coach.

B e a leader of character. Character is at the heart of being an effective leader. It represents who you are and what you stand for. This begins with a comprehensive understanding of yourself-a necessary condition before you can effectively lead others. Character is ultimately defined by those values or deep beliefs that guide behavior. The best leaders of character define and communicate those values, then bring them to life through living them and rewarding others who live them.

R einforce leader competencies. Clearly-documented expected competencies—and their associated behaviors—make it abundantly apparent what is most important to an organization. Core competencies highlight the fundamentals of solid leadership for everyone throughout the organization. As one progresses up in the organization, there are additional competencies commensurate with the level of increased responsibility. At the executive level, the environment is characterized by increased complexity, higher risk, greater uncertainty and less direct control. There is risk to any organization if expectations of competencies are left up to chance. Identifying them and gaining proficiency requires training, practice and feedback.

A ttack with a leadership development program to help prepare current and future leaders to set the conditions for the organization's future success. The best leaders recognize the importance of sustained investment in the development of their employees. Success stems from a culture where leaders are equipped with the mindset and passion for developing others.

V alue coaching excellence. One-on-one coaching is arguably the most important skill a leader must possess to be effective in developing others. The best leaders are great communicators who set the example for what right looks like. When leaders ignore or short-change this critical task, their employees fail to grow and reach their full potential. The keys to coaching success include creating a positive and open communication environment, agreeing on clear goals, and engaging in consistent dialog focused on performance assessment and inspiring actions for the future.

E mbrace trusted relationships. Trust between managers and their employees trumps everything when it comes to effective leadership. Influence over others will not happen without mutual trust. For leaders to be trusted, they need to exhibit character, competency, genuine interest in their people and humility.

Being a great leader is tough business. Be B.R.A.V.E. with these key steps to effective leadership.

Source: Jeff Foley is a recognized speaker, executive leadership coach and author of Rules and Tools for Leaders. He is a West Point graduate and retired as Brigadier General after serving 32 years in the Army. Drawing on his unique military experience, Foley uses his singular insight to build better leaders.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson