By Glenn Llopis
Leaders that strive to be significant seek to create the greatest impact and influence. These are the types of leaders that we value the most; inspired by their courage and resiliency, we seek to emulate them. They are the most respected. Leaders that are self-aware, are clear about their identity and expectations, have the backs of others and can be trusted – they are the ones we instinctively gravitate towards. These are the leaders that are rare to find and will not soon be forgotten by their colleagues and the organizations they serve. These are the leaders that can get the most out of very little, are grateful for the opportunity to lead, and always treat others like family.
Great leaders are the most memorable. They go about their day leveraging their distinction by leading in ways that come most naturally to them. They are remembered and admired because they have their own unique style and approach that supports innovation and initiative and are known for making the workplace culture stronger, more unified and collaborative. The most memorable leaders always set the right tone. Their presence and charisma are in service to others and they go out of their way to make their employees feel secure. They embrace two-way communication and are active listeners. They observe the dynamics around them and take pride in staying ahead of the game. They are game changers and are constantly looking for ways to challenge the status quo; they identify and help course correct those who might bring the organization down and are quick to solve problems.
The most memorable leaders are change agents – never afraid to confront complacency and make the required changes to get the organization back on track. My boss during my early corporate years was the most memorable leader I have ever worked for. Mark quickly and respectfully evaluated the organization, its talent, shortfalls and the opportunities for growth. He recognized that the culture needed a refresh and renewed energy. He is the boss that helped shaped me into the leader I am today. He injected a renewed sense of professionalism in the organization and made others feel more relevant and important. He single-handedly used his unique leadership skills and capabilities to revive an organization that was growing complacent and needed some real leadership. I was grateful to have experienced the transformational impact of great leadership at an early age. It made me realize that people just want to be led the right way – where they feel valued and can contribute in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Is your leader memorable for the right reasons – or are you stuck with a leader that is disrupting your career momentum?
Your leader impacts your career advancement and influences how you think, act and innovate more than you might imagine. As you manage your career, be on the lookout for the following eight qualities that make your leader extraordinarily memorable and positively enrich your experiences along the way.
The most authentic leaders are the most memorable. These are the leaders that don’t play games nor exercise power plays. They wear their intentions on their sleeves and make their expectations clear. Authentic leaders are consistent, embrace diversity and encourage their people to share their ideas and ideals. They know how to convert a melting pot into a mosaic. They encourage an entrepreneurial attitude.
Authentic leaders are experts at identifying the unique skill sets that lie within every person – because they place an emphasis on individuality, one’s unique strengths, and they allow employees to have a voice that matters and is heard. They allow their employees to discover their own identity and assign them roles and responsibilities where their contributions will enable them to flourish.
2. Shares Their Wisdom
Memorable leaders are those who enjoy sharing their wisdom and secrets of success. These types of leaders are great teachers and are the best mentors. Their storytelling abilities alone make them memorable — but it’s the leadership lessons they share that you will come to appreciate later in your career because they carry the most weight and impact.
In fact, I will never advise people about something that I’ve never experienced (firsthand) myself because of my own experiences with great leaders who have shared their wisdom with me. When you advise someone of something that you don’t know enough about (because you never experienced it), you are potentially putting that person into a position of great risk. What is the point? When leaders act as if they know the answers when they don’t, they are not doing you any favors.
Every year, I send a handwritten letter to those leaders and mentors who were most memorable to me and positively influenced my life.
3. Does What Others Don’t
You know that you’ve worked with a lot of different types of leaders in your career when the personalities, styles and attitudes of leaders begin to recycle. As such, over time leaders become predictable. The most memorable leaders are truly unique and have an identity and presence about them that helps them stand out from the crowd. They are the ones that support you in ways that others don’t. They have your back and will stand-up for you when times get tough. They sponsor you at work and help give you a platform to get discovered and advance your career.
You know that your leader is unique when they consistently go out of their way to make you feel that you matter and/or attempt to leverage a skill or competency that other leaders neglected. These leaders–are self-aware and trust themselves enough to appreciate the differences in others.
How many times have you felt that your talent was never fully appreciated or discovered by your leader?
4. Embraces the Lessons of Failure
Leaders that allow you to learn from failure are those that are eager for you to grow and prosper. They view risk as their best friend. I am not suggesting that leaders want you to fail – but if you should fail or experience any level of significant hardship, the most memorable leaders make sure that you learn valuable lessons. These types of leaders know that failure is not fatal, but rather a time to teach you how to overcome adversity and avoid the same occurrence from repeating itself.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have had great leaders that guided me rightly during some of the worst experiences of failure in my career. For example, in my first senior role in my early 20s, one of my leaders flew cross-country with me to meet the client that I had experienced a shortcoming with. She taught me that business was something that should never be taken personally. If I did, I would have a long, unfulfilling career. She also taught me to avoid a repeat of this incident with better communication and fewer assumptions. Without strong communication, things can get lost in translation and thus lead to poor decision making. Needless to say, this leader of mine will never be forgotten.
5. Gives You Their Valuable Time
Time is a leader’s most precious asset. Everyone wants more time with them than they have available. The most memorable leaders give you the time that they don’t always have. They recognize that their employees need attention and will find a way to make the time to listen to their concerns and provide insights to the situation at hand.
You know the leaders that are simply going through the motions and growing complacent along the way. They are not the ones giving their employees their valuable time and making them feel valued and recognized. Many times an employee just wants to know that their leaders are paying attention to their work and acknowledging their efforts.
6. Creates Special Moments
Memorable leaders create special moments. They are extremely well tuned to their employee’s needs, the culture and the tone of the organization. These types of leaders can quickly connect the dots and are aware of the internal and external politics and tension points that are being dealt with by employees each day. Without notice, they will create a special moment to inspire and inform the organization that they are aware of the circumstances at hand and will attempt to lighten the mood with spontaneous acts of kindness – and an action plan of support.
These types of leaders make you feel that you are never alone and that they are willing to fight the fight with you at all times. Employees that are led by leaders like this are the most valued and fulfilled in their jobs – because they feel a layer of security that looms over their tireless efforts.
7. Makes You Feel Valued
The leaders that are most grateful for your hard work and efforts will be the most memorable. When you feel genuinely appreciated – that you are not taken for granted – these are the times you feel that the 60+ hour work weeks are worth it.
Not enough leaders appreciate the work of their employees – especially in today’s unemployment world – where many employers remind their employees that they are fortunate just to have a job. When a leader is self-absorbed, they tend to forget about the efforts of others. This is when top-talent is lost and the efforts of others begin to wane. When leaders value and respect their employees, retention will remain strong and people will work harder, with a greater sense of purpose, and with a passionate pursuit of excellence.
Leadership is all about people and leaders who forget this will be forgotten quickly.
8. Leads to Leave a Legacy
Leaders that lead to leave a legacy are leading for the right reasons. They know that success comes most to those who are surrounded by people that want their success to continue. Leaders that are in it for the betterment of a healthier whole are rarely forgotten. People enjoy teamwork in collaborative, group-think environments.
There is a difference between making a mark and leaving a legacy. When you make a mark, it means that you may have done something great, but not necessarily something that is of everlasting significance. Legacy building is when the mark you created continues to grow and foster; where the people respect the legacy enough to sustain it. Legacy becomes an embedded part of the organization, its culture, brand and history.
If you were to leave your organization today, what would be the legacy that you would be leaving behind? What would be the legacy of your current leader?
When you lead to leave a legacy, your leadership is focused on significance and not just success; respect over recognition.
Ultimately, it is the leader who strives to have an impact that is bigger than just themselves who will be the most memorable – and for all the right reasons. They will always leave an unforgettable impression and have long-lasting influence on you, your career, and the organization they serve.