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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

Leadership is proven in the results of the team.


One of the best signs of a good leader is a slight spirit of discontent. You have to be able to recognize that you are better today than you were a year ago, but still focus on becoming even better a year from now.


As an independent contractor, it is rare that I get to know leaders in a deeper way than just as someone who hands down work for me to do. For the last three months, however, I have had the opportunity and privilege to get to know a woman whose leadership is top-notch.


Brooke owns a business that provides operations and project management for “the ambitious visionary.” Her objective is to “help those visionaries achieve their big goals and dreams one system and to-do list at a time.” With a background in construction management, she is able to stay on top of complex projects and be “ruthlessly” efficient. That description alone makes me smile.


At the end of this month, Brooke is leaving a client whom we are both contractors for, and needless to say, I will miss her. It brings tears to my eyes as I wonder how we will progress without her. In my opinion, she easily meets and exceeds what any client would expect of her.


Everyone has their own opinions of what characteristics make up a good leader. From well-spoken and patient to charismatic and forceful, the list of qualities can run the gamut. But, sure-tell signs of effective leaders aren’t in their traits, but in their results. As you look within your own company and try to gauge the effectiveness of your own leadership, or the leadership of others, look for these three indicators.


Consistent Growth

True leaders know they are neither perfect nor omniscient. They are always looking for ways to be better and never veer from the path of self-improvement. One of the best signs of a good leader is a slight spirit of discontent. You have to be able to recognize that you are better today than you were a year ago, but still focus on becoming even better a year from now. And, growth can never take a backseat to your busyness. In the book "Great Leaders Grow," by Mark Miller and Ken Blanchard, they point out that, “If you get too busy with your job to grow, your influence and your leadership will stagnate and ultimately evaporate.”


Continual Success

If the proof is in the pudding, then a good leader’s team will achieve success again and again. This is true in the business world, whether you are a contractor or a member of the core staff. A poor leader might have a few victories, but continual success is the result of good leadership. A recent Forbes article echoes this assertion with its statement, “The result of good leadership is high morale, good employee retention, and sustainable long-term success.”


Contagious Spirit

Another quick way to determine the quality of someone’s leadership is to look at their teammates, co-workers, or employees. Are they excited about what they do? Are they stepping up and taking on leadership roles of their own? A leader’s power doesn’t just rest in his or her ability to do a task well. The real power lies in their ability to inspire greatness in their team. You are not a true leader if you simply inspire fear or mediocrity. Good leadership begets good leadership. When I log on to our weekly team meetings, her spirit and how she leads is calm, firm, kind yet amazingly inspirational. She makes you want to get the work done!

Many people proclaim themselves to be good leaders. After all, no one wants to be told that they’re a bad or ineffective leader. But, good leadership is proven through results, not words. If you really want to gauge the effectiveness of your own leadership, consider your growth, your team’s success, and your teammate’s attitudes. Those three elements will tell you what you need to know.

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