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Monday, July 12, 2010

The 5 Characteristics of a CHAMP Leader

These five characteristics of a CHAMP are to be applied inside organisations in two ways:

A standard for how organisational leaders must lead;

As a standard against which all potential team members are measured for during the hiring process and are held accountable to after becoming a part of the team.

These are same characteristics expected of all within an organisation although they are applied slightly differently. Here we outline how leaders should apply the five traits.


Leaders need to know how to gain commitment to a compelling vision and the strategy to achieve it. This also includes investing the time and energy in creating that compelling vision and strategy and having the courage to ask for help in achieving it. This comes from leaders who know how to communicate in a way that influences their team members in a positive way. It's a way of communicating that shows how each individual team member benefits when the organisation fulfils it vision and strategy, gaining buy-in from all.


Leaders must lead by example in setting the expectation of constant and never ending improvement, and they show it by being open to feedback from all sources. Being open to feedback means more than just proclaiming there is an "open door" policy. It must be shown by actually taking feedback and true appreciation for that feedback by saying "thank you' without rationalising and justifying the present situation and then communicating back to the individual who offered the feedback with what is being done with it (it doesn't have to be implemented, it just needs to be shown as being truly considered, to have been effective).


Leaders must set the tone that there is accountability to responsibilities and roles throughout the organisation. Leaders must set up systems for identifying realistic goals and outcomes with accountability to them (in all sports there is a Scoreboard in the arenas, a Scorecard for everyone involved to track progress in a game and a Final Score in the newspaper for all to see the results the next day).


Leaders must be exemplars in showing they are motivated in nuanced ways. It is usually easy for leaders to look motivated by showing up early and staying late and expecting others to do the same. But motivation is more than just "hard work" and "long hours." It means being motivated to take action on difficult decisions and in challenging situations. This means avoiding procrastination at all costs and refusing to tolerate things that do not improve the organisation and support the best efforts of team members.

Leaders must understand human motivation and apply the following assumptions in their approach:

Everyone on the team wants to d a good job.
Actions/decisions are always done with positive intent with the best resources individuals have available to them at the time.
People want to be recognised for their contributions.
People are motivated by intrinsic factors.


Leaders must also lead by example and set the tone for their organisation that preparation is vital to an organisation's success. It means that leaders should be certain any meeting they hold are designed in a way in which all those invited to a meeting  clearly communicated. Schedules should be well maintained and projected as far in to the future as possible while offering enough flexibility to allow for reasonable adjustments. The leader should be continually looking for ways to raise the bar on individual and organisational preparation. This includes punctuality, meeting deadlines, returning phone calls, and planning the year, quarter, month, weeks and days to maximise results.