5 characteristics of Leaders who consistently deliver

Some leaders just keep delivering. Despite challenging objectives, the roadblocks they encounter and the inevitable internal team disputes that arise, they seem to find a way to win.

What is it that sets them apart? Why do the teams they lead consistently deliver on objectives? Why are they great executors?

Here are five distinct characteristics we have witnessed first hand:

1. They are Black and White

These folks are clear…crystal clear. There is no room for grey. They set simple, precise objectives, are direct on roles and responsibilities and leave no doubt on their expectations on the behavior required for success.

2. They don’t get distracted

Distractions are the single biggest killer of execution. The great executors understand this implicitly and attack the problem in two ways.

First they will ensure the team and each individual is only focused on a maximum of 3 things at any one time. Any more than three and the effort starts to become scattered and unfocused.

Second they will ensure all activity is focused on the objective. The introduction of a possible new project or direction has to first pass the acid test question, “will this help us succeed?” Ultimately these leaders are good at saying “no” to unnecessary activity.

3. They deal directly with tough issues

The great executors make tough decisions and have tough conversations. If results are not what they should be these leaders will confront it head on. If tough decisions are to be made they will make them. They will have tough conversations about under performance and have a low tolerance for behavior that is detrimental to team performance or is not aligned with company culture.

4. They relentlessly search for improvement

The great executors are on an endless search for improvement. They see their primary responsibility is to get the very best from their teams individually and collectively.

Four questions consistently dominate their thinking and the way they engage with their teams.

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not?
  • Why?
  • How can we improve?

5. They are mentally tough

Adversity is always the greatest test of a team’s ability to execute. This is when the great executors are at their best, showing mental toughness when it is needed most. Invariably they will do three things.

  1. They will look for the truth of the situation and rather than becoming emotional, they will approach the challenge dispassionately, seeking to gather the facts and then with their team make the best decision.
  2. They will remain confident. They understand implicitly that this is the very nature of business and the reason they exist as leader is to solve problems. Not surprisingly they seem to enjoy the challenge.
  3. Finally, they will be there for their team. Realizing that it is in adversity their team needs them most. They will support them, encourage them and lead them through difficult times