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12 Most Magnificent “M” Marks of Great Leaders

12 Most Magnificent “M” Marks of Great Leaders

“If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page.” ~ Mark Houlahan. This post marks the halfway point for the 12 Most ABCs of Leadership series. I hope you are enjoying the series, and you can catch up by reading 12 Most Laudable “L” Labels of Great Leaders. Now, let’s work on these Magnificent Marks of Great Leaders!

1. Maestro

One of my favorite leadership quotes is from a guy named James Crook: “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” A maestro is prepared to turn his back on the crowd and masterfully direct the symphony from his organization. Great leaders know how to bring in each section of the organization, on-time and in rhythm, to build to a steady crescendo of successes!

2. Magnanimous

Magnanimous leaders are noble and generous in spirit. They forgive mistakes, and they are considerate of other teammates opinions and values. They still have an organization to run, and discipline and vision to enforce and maintain, but they guide with a gentle hand.

3. Malleable

To be malleable is to “be shaped under pressure or blows without breaking.” We want our leaders to adapt to the pressures and blows of changing conditions without breaking. The result is a stronger organization that is optimally molded to succeed in the new conditions.

4. Maneuverable

Strong leaders are important because they act as focal points for organizations’ goals. However, great leaders are also not afraid to be maneuvered by a steering committee with delegated authority. This isn’t an ego contest — it’s a contest for your team to beat all the other teams in your market space!

5. Marvelous

Bill Moyers said “Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” Leaders are not mundane, and great leaders are not common. They are astonishingly marvelous!

6. Mature

“All that is good in man lies in youthful feeling and mature thought” ~ Joseph Joubert. Great leaders can balance a youthful exuberance with mature discernment cultivated through personal experiences. Olivier Blanchard led a very lively discussion regarding the ideal age for a social media manager, and I agree with his assessment. Maturity does not necessarily have to be a function of age. Maturity comes from a combination of experience, work ethic, and innate talent and wisdom.

7. Maximizing

If leaders take on all the decisions for an organization, they quickly become self-limiting. The organization cannot grow and thrive when one individual acts as a bottleneck to progress. Great leaders maximize the talents of the organization, and they give team members the autonomy to innovate and excel.

8. Merited

What do you think of this quote from Edward F. Halifax – “True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes”? Those who desire accolades draw attention to their successes while fully attributing those successes to their own merits. Great leaders selflessly focus on the bigger picture — organizational success — and their merits stack up as a growing testament to their real priorities.

9. Mitigative

Let’s face it: the world is filled with risks. We could get hit by the proverbial bus on the way to work, our products could fail miserably, or our customer service representative could have a brain fart and question the intelligence of a consumer. Our leaders need to be comfortable with risks and calm in the face of pending catastrophe. They can then be effective when mitigating the risks and getting the business back on the right track.

10. Moneymaking

In general, business is about making money. At the end of the day, you gotta spend less than you make — and then invest the difference wisely. Our leaders need to be moneymakers for our organizations by finding and maximizing revenue opportunities while minimizing unjustified expenses.

11. Moral

Jesse Jackson made a great point when he stated, “Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day.” Leaders are presented with ample opportunities to explore ethical grey areas to shortcut the path to success. Moral leaders keep their organizations’ integrity intact with their decision-making.

12. Motivated

We do not hire leaders to simply be custodians of what already exists. We want them to strive for bigger and better goals and take the organization along for the ride! Great leaders remain motivated, and they know how to keep their teams motivated to dream about what could be just over the horizon.

Do not let your professional reputation get “mowed down” with these adjectives: Maddening, malcontent, malevolent, malicious, malignant, manic-depressive, meddling, megalomaniacal, misleading, mocking, moronic, and mulish (umm, jackass).

I look forward to hearing about your favorites on the list as well as any new additions. Until then — be magnificent!

Republished with permission, courtesy of 12 MostPhoto Credit: Letter M by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Hi Brian,
    I like malleable. Be flexible. Form under the pressure. We all face it; a few go with the flow and actually grow stronger when resistance arises.
    Great list!

    • RyanKBiddulph Great elaboration on Malleable, Ryan. I’ve watched it with the last two crops of interns we’ve had. We’ve been able to introduce some “pressure” in the form of delivery deadlines, without them being CLIENT deadlines, and I think they would all say they were strengthened as a result.

  2. Holy worn out thesaurus Batman! Inspiring post,especially #10. We seem to focus on all the soft-traits of leaders these days (good listeners, etc.) that we don’t put enough emphasis on the ability to drive enough revenue to keep the lights on and the employees paid! :)

    • samfiorella You know, writing this entire series “took it out of me” when it comes to researching adjectives both for and against great leadership. I also love the power of a good quote, so I spent a decent amount of time finding them, too.
      I like the end result, and I’m happy to finally be re-posting the entire ABCs of Leadership series here.
      Thanks for stopping by, Sam.