Most people have heard about all the skills, assets, abilities, and attitude, needed to be a meaningful, productive, successful leader. However, in addition to all of those variables, one which is generally, quite important, is performing in a rather unusual, unique, CLEVER manner! Simply explained, cleverness is the willingness, readiness and ability, to put the right/ best combination of skills, etc, together, at the right time, foresee needs, concerns, priorities, ramifications and contingencies, and, not only know what to do, but actually steps forward, proactively, and proceeds, while the wannabes generally hide their heads, in the sand! Let’s briefly, using the mnemonic approach, review what this means, and why it is so essential.

1. Character; cooperate; charm; considerations; contingencies: One of the most challenging characteristics to identify, in advance, is judging the quality of the character, of the potential leader. Only under fire, does this often become more evident! Astute leaders seek to cooperate, rather be adversarial; make timely decisions, but only after examining and considerations; appeal positively to others, by a combination of charm, reliability, and integrity; and weighing the ramifications, in such a way, where contingency plans, are ready, in advance!

2. Listen; learn; leadership: Try to avoid the tendency to interrupt others! Instead, pay closer attention, listen attentively, and thoroughly/ effectively. Learn from what you hear and observe; and prove you are ready for real leadership!

3. Empathy; excellence: No matter how skilled, prepared, enthusiastic, motivated, or how good one’s intentions, one must remember, these characteristics, unless combined with genuine empathy, often are somewhat meaningless! However, merely caring genuinely, or considering the needs of others thoroughly, is astute leadership, unless one’s focus is on excellence!

4. Vibrant, vital vision: Why do you want to become a leader? Why would you seek the responsibilities, time commitments, etc.? Unless one possesses a vibrant, vital vision, which motivates him, to do and care more, and this vision is in sync with the mission of the particular organization, how can you possibly be a gifted leader?

5. Example: There are few things which turn – off constituents, more than saying, Do as I say, not as I do! Astute leaders realize they must be the example; others look up to, respect, and admire!

6. Ramifications; relevant; reachable; reliable: Every action a leader either takes or avoids eventually will have some ramifications. Foresee these by effectively planning, while addressing critical needs, priorities, and concerns, maintaining an open – door – policy, being reachable, and perceived as a reliable leader!

Effective leadership is often a complex process. Simplify the procedure, and enhance your results, by behaving like a CLEVER leader!