Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege to attend an event through my employer which had General Rick Hillier (retired) from the Canadian Forces speaking about Leadership and certain qualities that a leader should have. He gave a 90 minute presentation which relied heavily on his experiences as the leader of the Canadian Armed Forces. Below are some key points which I thought were pertinent to share with others.
An important part of being a leader is Communication. Below are some key points to consider about communication.
- Being Direct trumps all other modes of communication
- In the world of twitter, facebook and the rest, face-to-face communication is by far the most preferred
- When leading a team, be as straight forward as possible and build credibility
A leader must always be able to bring:
- Toughness – Be robust (mentally, physically and emotionally), because your “troops” need you most when they are at their lowest and it doesn’t help when you as their leader is also at your lowest. Sometimes you will have to make tough decisions, don’t back away from making those tough decisions.
- Optimism – Being optimistic is a game changer. Perpetual optimism is equal to an effective multiplier. So be optimistic because it manifests into passion.
- Respect – Treat your people with the utmost respect they deserve.
General Hillier also mentioned that there are 4 kind of people who are very important:
- Changers – These are the people who irrespective of their ranks, titles and levels believe in changing the game for the good. These are the people who bring about a change when it is nearly impossible. They do it because they truly believe in it.
- Inspirators – These are the people who know what they need to do and bring about inspiration in others through their actions.
- Outsiders – These are the group of people who are outside of your command, but do what they can to help and motivate people. The example Gen. Hillier used was that of the Granny Brigade which consisted of retired ladies who took it upon themselves (without being asked to) to take a pen and paper and start writing to each and every person deployed in the field for the Canadian Armed Forces. They wrote stories and letters to thank these young men and women to empower them to do what they did best, serve their country and the people of this planet.
- Doers – These are the people who simply know nothing else but to just do what is right and what makes sense.
The last but I feel the most important point which General Hillier instilled throughout his talk was that an effective leader has to have a great sense of humor. Humor can work wonders in building strong relationships with people from various walks on life, from corporals to generals all should rely on humor as a way to build a strong team.
I am glad to have attended this talk and there is absolutely so much to learn from General Hilliers experience. I absolutely look forward to reading his book titled, Leadership: 50 Points of Wisdom for Today’s Leaders.