Kinda funny, isn’t it, how we lose sight of things that we shouldn’t? A few years ago, those of us at BIG did lots of speaking and training on the 7 C’s of leadership, which we defined as character, connection, cognition, capability, compassion, courage, and commitment.
Then life intervened as it so often does. The BIG team moved on to other topics our clients wanted and eventually to working at other places. After my heart nearly pooped out on me, I rethought what I wanted to do with the second act of my life and started The Jane Group.
In thinking about what I want to do in 2019, much of what I plan to speak, write, coach, and teach about is rooted in something from the 7 C’s.
I want to assist people and organizations to welcome differences, reduce bias, shake up the status quo, be inclusive, be kind, be respectful, manage with our head and lead with our heart, and use power the right way.
All those messages boil down to us leading ourselves so we can lead others inclusively and kindly, and that’s where the 7 C’s come in.
Fascinating how things come full circle, isn’t it?
The 7 C’s of being a leader
With lots of the new year still in front of us, now’s a great time to revisit the 7 C approach. The list is succinct enough to be remembered yet deep enough in both hard and soft skills to impact our thoughts and actions.
An inclusive leader with character walks the talk for both being good and doing well. He has a moral center, knows right from wrong, and doesn’t have any hidden agendas. She is a consistent and credible role model for integrity, ethical behavior, authenticity, honesty, and transparency. He knows what values are important to him, practices them daily, and assures there’s congruence between his values and actions. She practices tolerance, embraces differences, is inclusive without being judgment, and invites the elephant in the room to dance. He is determined yet self-disciplined. She treats those with and those without power the same. He can be trusted.
An inclusive leader who practices connection makes the time to meaningfully connect with others. She collaborates and values community. He actively listens to what others have to say because understanding their point of view is important to him. She communicates clearly, assures alignment between her verbal and nonverbal messages; engages in clear and concise two-way exchanges, not one-way monologues; and says just enough to accurately convey her meaning. He knows when to recognize, criticize, celebrate, have fun, and says thank you to someone every day.
An inclusive leader who has cognition is self-aware and actively uses their self-knowledge to relate to others. He knows his strengths and puts them to good use both for himself and in service to others. She knows her weaknesses and works to minimize any negative impact they may have. He seeks feedback, asks clarifying questions, and reflects on what he hears. She practices simplicity yet knows when to take the deep dive. He sets boundaries, appreciates what’s mandatory and what’s discretionary, and finds the balance between tradition and innovation. She’s curious, open-minded, and eager to expand her comfort zone. He thinks critically, seeks to learn, and is unafraid to challenge the status quo or seek the common-sense solution.
An inclusive leader with capability stretches the limits of their potential and inspires those around them to do the same. She encourages creativity, is adept at change, and maintains balance between stability and innovation. He coaches for competence and knows when to go fast and when to go slow. She is skilled at the fundamentals of conducting business—planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. He knows when to control and when to empower. She focuses equally on people, principles and profits and never sacrifices one for the other. He holds himself and those around him responsible and accountable.
An inclusive leader who has compassion is unafraid to smile, laugh, care and is fearless in showing love, joy, kindness, and respect. He is there for others, knowing when to speak with candor and when to be diplomatic. She seeks out and celebrates both similarities and differences. He displays empathy without sacrificing accountability and ownership. She knows when to enforce the rules and when to bend them.
An inclusive leader who has courage takes a stand for what’s good and what’s right, even if doing so is unpopular. She shows grace under pressure. He acknowledges his fears without letting them rule his life. She believes in herself and shows strength of mind and will. He embraces possibility with childlike wonder. She is confident that she brings value and helps others believe the same about themselves. He dares to be sincere, caring, and authentic.
An inclusive leader who has commitment has conviction, sees things through, holds themselves accountable, and assists others in doing the same. She pursues mutual understanding and respect even in the presence of opposing opinions. He assures the work gets done and that relationships are maintained. She lives up to her potential and strives to make a positive and sustained difference.
So, when people ask me about a “secret sauce” for inclusion, civility, and leadership success, I ask, “How are your 7 C’s?”
Image credit before quote: Pixabay