Reflecting on the high-quality managers that have made an impact on my career, this blog is a tribute to those fine leaders of my past. The names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Communication

Glen and Sam are terrific communicators. They have the ability to explain their ideas to others in a way that inspires them to work toward the outlined goals. They are good listeners, know how to digest various ideas and opinions, and select the ideas that make the best sense, while valuing all ideas as important. Glen was especially good at inspiring employees, even when the chips were down. Sam was good at adding humor to difficult situations. Both leaders used ongoing communication as a method to motivate the employees to be their very best.

Empowerment

Many executives fail as they move up the ladder because they do not make the shift from doing work themselves to delegating to others. After all, allowing others to do the work that you once did can be rather scary. James worked closely with his management team to identify the strengths of each team member. He capitalized on those strengths by delegating work he knew would help his team grow, and giving the employees a taste of success to improve their self-confidence. A great leader selects the right people for the job, communicates what his/her goals are and lets his/her people fly.

John Maxwell said, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

Integrity

Employee’s lives can be affected by the decisions that leaders makes. Very simply stated, great leaders follow the Golden Rule and treat their employees the way that they would want to be treated. This does not mean they cannot counsel or even layoff one of their favorite employees. Rather, great leaders sit down with the employee and have a conversation about the turn of events and allow them to retain their self-confidence and self-respect. James, John and Matthew understood this and lived by the philosophy that they respected their employees’ personal and professional lives, and earned their employees’ trust. They never talked about members of the team negatively with other members of team. They held themselves to a higher standard than their own employees.

Self-confidence

Brian had a lot of self-confidence. Many leaders, good and bad, show a high degree of self-confidence. Great leaders retain their composure under all circumstances. They maintain an emotional consistency that may sometimes seem that they have no emotions at all, but don’t be fooled. The great leaders are able to make suitable decisions even under the most demanding stress.

Lao Tzu said,Because one believes in ones self, one does not try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one does not need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

Positive Attitude

Our attitude determines the state of the world we live in. In fact, attitude is the foundation for every success and every failure we have had and will have. Attitudes can make or break a leader. One leader I had years ago actually lost his career due to his negative attitude. He treated everyone as if they were stupid, and his team finally got fed up and stopped delivering for him. The most positive leader I ever had was James, who was an ex-Disney leader. He made his team feel like they could do anything just by keeping a positive attitude himself.

I ask myself the question, am I living my life improving my communication and treating others the way I would want to be treated? Do I respond with integrity? Do I maintain a positive attitude and have self-confidence in my decisions? I know I can do better – how about you? If we improve these competencies not only do we win by being better leaders, our teams win by experiencing great leadership!

Posted by Mary Kuniski

Mary Kuniski is a catalyst for business and individual change. Throughout her career, she has consistently led corporate businesses into the future, often achieving process improvement and change that others could not. Mary’s enthusiastic attitude and tenacious ability to keep moving forward is why she identifies with this quote from Dale Carnegie: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” Passionate about problem resolution and committed to coaching and leading others, Mary is driven to ensure that everything she does provides lasting value. At a young age, her leadership and public speaking skills were recognized and nurtured through her ten-year participation in 4-H. She has also fostered change for businesses such as Parkinson Voice Project, where she directed the implementation of their website and online learning management system, and Overhead Door Corporation, where she created and launched a successful core data process improvement strategy. During her tenure with The Michaels Companies, Mary held five Director positions and three Vice President roles, and pioneered the company’s expansion into Quebec. Her efforts to lead the transformation of over 40,000 craft items to three languages resulted in Michaels becoming the first international retailer to acquire language certification from Quebec on the initial attempt. This meant Michaels successfully adherred to strict French-language laws. Mary has over 20 years in executive leadership in the retail industry and for 10 years led supply chain shipment improvement and savings and reduction efforts at Michaels. Mary is a Dale Carnegie graduate, certified trainer, and consultant for Dale Carnegie DFW's Executive Leadership training. She holds an MBA in Global Management from the University of Phoenix and a degree in Human Development, Clothing Studies from Pennsylvania State University.

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