In my last blog on leadership, I discussed the importance of decisiveness. In this, the forth segment of my five-part series, I will discuss the next step leaders take after making a decision – executing that decision. The two go hand in hand, for without the ability to execute what we’ve decided, what good is being decisive? None

True leaders have the ability to communicate their decisions to those around them by making their audience understand the importance of that decision. That’s how they become leaders – by possessing the ability to make the tough decisions and then having the capacity to lead those around them to execute those decisions. Remember, execution is not accomplished in a vacuum; it must be exposed to public scrutiny.

In order for leaders to lead, they need to create a true “buy-in” with their associates. By making their followers invest in the their decisions, they encourage above and beyond loyalty to those decisions. After all, we all feel more obligated to perform a task or job if we have an investment in that task or job. And when a leader brings us all together for a common goal, we will compete to the best of our abilities because we don’t want to let everyone down.

Another ability all great leaders share is being able to set realistic goals. If followers don’t believe their goals are humanly possible to complete, they will refuse to participate. Leaders must possess the ability to evaluate their supporter’s capacity for direction and then adjust their timeline for completion to fit those capacities. In addition to setting and maintaining realistic goals, leaders must also be able to accurately evaluate on the fly. Leadership is a fluid position and to be truly effective, leaders must be able to evaluate and adjust on the move.

Real time evaluation is a critical talent of good leaders. They know that regardless of how realistic and well thought out their timelines may be, the best laid plans of men and mice can crumble at any time. Stuff happens, so competent leaders plan for the unexpected and always remain ready to be flexible with their plans. Their ability to bend and not break under pressure is one reason people are prepared to follow great leaders.

One last important facet of leadership that all competent leaders share is discipline. Discipline is the ability to stay focused on the task at hand. Being disciplined is having the ability to not chase any of the shiny objects that are constantly waived in our faces. Success in life, regardless of profession or trade, depends on having the discipline to stay on track and seeing the job gets done. Think of all the opportunities you or someone you’ve known have missed out on, simply because they didn’t have the discipline to stick to the mission.

In summing up the importance proper execution plays in leadership, I think it’s imperative that we all realize the importance of proper execution. Like timing, knowing how to execute successfully is a critical trait required for successful leadership. And like timing, knowing how to execute properly is something you can learn, but to be a truly good at it, you need some innate skills.

Next week, I’ll tackle passion and what it means to leadership.

Aaron Rennert, Vice President Worldwide Sales and Marketing, GM Sisel International

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Go to Part 3.