menu

Shawn Parr: The 10 Most Important Traits Of A Leader

Shawn Parr: The 10 Most Important Traits Of A Leader
Culture

Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40, is a bold Australian and the steward of one of the world’s most iconic and unusual brands.

Shawn Parr, Bulldog Drummond
  • 3 november 2011

Garry Ridge, the CEO of WD-40, is a bold Australian and the steward of one of the world’s most iconic and unusual brands. Garry is the proud and attentive guardian of the WD-40 brand, and of a tribal culture he’s nurtured. He leads the WD-40 “tribe,” as he calls them, with a Global Tribal Council, comprised of country leaders from around the world. Garry’s a leader who feeds his entire organization with values and emphasizes them with companywide messaging, daily quotes from leaders in history and from insights from people he meets. He believes that effective leaders have a clear, teachable leadership point of view and are willing to share it with, and teach it to others. Following are ten leadership traits, as told to me by Garry:

1. Do what you say you’re going to do:
Organizations don’t pay much attention to what we say. Organizations pay intense attention to what we do and the examples we set, particularly if the actions are inconsistent with the words. Any inconsistency is corrosive.

2. You are expected to be competent:
Organizations expect their leaders to be competent and act with integrity. (I mean integrity in the broadest sense of the word to include team play and respect shown to subordinates.

3. Have high self-esteem and self worth:
Leaders need to have a strong sense of self worth. This means the ability to accept failures and criticism, but without being so egotistical and hubristic that the person is not open to opinions of others. I’ve heard it said that good leaders have a level of self confidence that is slightly more than what is justified by the facts.

4. Leaders move forward:
Leaders are not afraid to act with a sense of urgency. They pay attention to the details (not by micromanaging but by taking the occasional deep dive to test what they’re hearing.

5. Good judgment comes from healthy learning moments:
Leaders exercise good judgment, usually a result of learning from mistakes. Our successes normally don’t bring with them the introspection that mistakes do. Good judgment is also a result of a wide variety of, e.g. international, experiences. Good judgment comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgment.

6. Leaders are connected, aware and tuned in:
They outwardly act and display what they believe internally. Leaders are particularly tuned in to the people around them and to subtle behavioral clues. They read a room well. This is akin to a good sixth sense about how to act in foreign cultures. They listen well. They have high EQ.

7. Leaders value the gift of contrarians and resistors:
Good leaders don’t like yes men and sycophants. They know these people will cause them to fail. They are not afraid of surrounding themselves with strong people.

8. Be a leader of hope:
Leaders of hope have a belief that “this too will pass.” They keep the passion of their people and they exercise patience against panic. They gather the facts in a sense of calm.

9. Involve your people:
Involve the people. The best ideas and greatest support will come when people are involved and contributing. In the end, every decision will be made by the person who can make the decision – an informed decision-maker has the people involved.

10. Always stay in servant leadership mode:
Remember leaders are there to serve. The shepherd is there on behalf of the sheep – the sheep are not there on behalf of the shepherd. Note how in most of these a good quality, such as self confidence, becomes fatal when carried to excess.

A LITTLE UNCOMMON SENSE:
I’m reminded through my conversations with Garry to practice the advice and philosophies we lay out. It’s a privilege, not a right, to be in a position of leadership. One of the most important characteristics of a transformational leader is inspiring and building trust. Impactful leaders earn it with those in their care by practicing a careful blend of humility and courage. A CEO’s role is part teacher, challenger and protector. A CEO must lead by example, practicing courageous acts of inspiration, nurturing with understandable and meaningful values and creating safe environments for people to grow.

Culture
Trending

Gilt's Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You'll Want To Live In

Retail
Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Advertising Today

The Hottest Chip In The World Comes Packed In A Coffin-Shaped Box

The individually wrapped snack is made from the spiciest known chili

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Related Expert

Kevin Porras

Game Production and Development

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

Work Today

Microsoft Wants To Help Workers Better Communicate With Their Coworkers

Project Sonoma is a new app designed to help employees chat and coordinate shifts with their associates

Advertising Today

Real-Time Data Used To Calculate The Brand Power Of Athletes

Brandtix has develope a digital platform with a complex algorithm that combines social media variables with player performance to predict the next A-list pros

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Automotive Yesterday

Toyota Is Using Sewage To Power Its New Electric Car

A new hydrogen-fueled vehicle is driven by what we flush away

Culture Yesterday

Catch A Concert On This Small Floating Island

A man-made archipelago in Italy is hosting music and art performances

Design & Architecture Yesterday

DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Woodenwidget says its detailed guides are suitable for beginners and experienced woodworkers alike

Social Media Yesterday

The United Nations Has Launched Its Own Social Media Platform

A new app aims to get younger audiences more involved in sustainable development goals

Design Yesterday

Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

The clever device offers games, education and the uniquely rewarding experience of destroying your high-flying airship

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Free Sneakers Given Out To Motivated Marathon Runners

Strava will give the shoes to athletes who run the second half of their race faster than the first

Culture Yesterday

Someone Invented A Robot Just To Serve Trays Of Beef Jerky

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, in partnership with Chef's Cut Real Jerky, creates an automated snack delivery system

Millennials Yesterday

Why A Social Networking Site Decided To Rebrand

Meetup, a platform that connects like-minded individuals, has taken steps to stay relevant amongst millennials

No search results found.