The Three C’s Of Leadership

Successful Business Meeting

An energetic but frustrated team leader I worked with recently, had some great ideas but was having a difficult time rallying her troops to see her vision. Her concerns about her team members ranged from:

“They are stuck in old routines and patterns.”

“They can’t hear what I am saying and are choosing to ignore me.”

“They only want to contribute up to a point and then they clean their hands.”

“They don’t see me as part of them, but rather as someone with a different agenda.”

She had great passion about her innovative ideas, but was unable to gain support or enthusiasm for her new direction. She felt as if the team was rotating alongside of her in a totally different galaxy. There was a total “disconnect” and she began to feel disrespected and angry.

Has this ever happened to you where you had a great solution to an issue but were unable to impact the change? You really wanted to lead your team to a new horizon but you were just not sure how.

Here are the three important C’s of Leadership that may bring out the leader in you.


With more and more teams located in many separate places, there is an extraordinary need to master the skill of collaboration. Our workplaces cry out for leaders who can pull together projects, people and different perspectives. Instead of saying: “This isn’t my job”, we need to say, “How can we work together more strategically to meet our deadlines?”

  • Commit to seeing commonalities rather than dwelling on how far apart the team members are
  • Empower people to work together by sharing how each will grow from the partnership
  • Model collaboration by working with different departments
  • Reward collaboration with shout-outs and meaningful work


My favorite way to look at communication is that it is the oil that keeps a team flowing. Without effective communication, a team can easily become dysfunctional. This week I was approached by a small firm that was having trouble working with each other in the office, but had no challenges working with their clients. After speaking with the President about what might be causing the friction, it became apparent that her managers couldn’t say what they needed to say in a respectful way. They were barking orders at one another, without being concerned how they were coming across. They were behaving very differently than how they treated their customers. A leader who is able to express themselves in a clear and direct way while still honoring the other person’s point of view will always be heard.


A leader who can be trusted by their team will be a central force for the energy of that team. The manager I spoke about initially was not seen as open and trustworthy. She was feared but not respected. She did not have the team’s trust. How can you be a confidant?

  • Be honest with feedback, even if it means sharing bad news
  • Build meaningful relationships with your teammates by getting to know them and what brings them joy
  • Listen to what others are saying and try to understand their thinking
  • Never reveal confidences shared
  • Let others know who you are and what is important to you

What additional qualities have made your leadership soar?

 (photo credit-Flickr CC Nguyen Hung Vu)

11 thoughts on “The Three C’s Of Leadership

  1. I absolutely love your third C. Most people would assume that it should be … be confident but that’s not the key to building trust. I’m with you that being a confidant is a powerful place to stay focused on the relationship and to create the space for shared success.

    Fantastic, Terri!

  2. Thanks Alli for seeing the element of surprise in The Three C’s Leadership model!

    Being able to be open with the people we connect with on our teams and in our collaborations is essential to developing meaningful work relationships. To be a confidant, leaders need to be less judgmental and open to different perspectives. They also need to be approachable to share critical information and concerns.

    As always Alli, I appreciate your great insights and additions to the dialogue!

  3. Terri, Excellent. If everyone on the team is out of synch with you, it’s likely not them, it’s you. I love the advice you gave your client. Vision is great, but does no good if people don’t feel connected to it or energized to work toward it.

  4. Great point Karin that vision alone can never be seen by others on our team if we don’t build meaningful connections.

    Rallying others to see our perspective can be difficult if we don’t meet them where they are. Being inclusive means empowering others to be part of the bigger picture.

    Thanks Karin!

  5. Love your title, Terri! Another excellent post about leadership.

    I would add consistency into the mix, primarily because I’ve had supervisors that may not have made the right decisions but at least they were consistent in the way they made them. It can be frustrating when the team leader arrives at decisions in a seemingly random manner.

    Fantastic, Terri!

  6. Consistency is also very important LaRae as long as a leader knows when to pivot in order to cultivate a stronger vision or collaboration. Leaders must weigh the decision to choose a new direction or stay focused on the same path as long as the vision, mission and values are kept in tact.

    It is important to a team to be able to rely on a leader’s choices and that they are representative of what the leader stands for.

    Thanks LaRae!


    This is my favorite part:

    “A leader who is able to express themselves in a clear and direct way while still honoring the other person’s point of view will always be heard.”

  8. Thanks Chery!

    I do believe that leaders need to hear other perspectives with respect even if they don’t agree because those opposite points of view can be so helpful. Also by listening to others we show we care about what they have to contribute as well. Caring leads to generosity which leads to relationship building.

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