What does it take to be an excellent leader?
People have been opining about this for centuries and there are literally more than one thousand definitions of leadership – each with their own data set and perspective.
My view is – read about the different perspectives and take what resonates with you. Here is a recent list from an article in Harvard Business Review. I think it includes some helpful ideas; see what you think:
1. Authenticity. Be genuine in who you are. Get clear on what you really care about and stay true to your values. Be consistent.
2. Curiosity. Ask questions. Look at what could be. Encourage others to think big and think differently. Seek different perspectives to challenges you face.
3. Analytical Prowess. Don’t just trust your gut. Look for root causes of problems. Connect this to your curiosity and make data-informed decisions.
4. Adaptability. Seek out new challenges in different environments in order to grow your adaptability “muscle.” Purposely choose new people to team up with and be open to different perspectives.
5. Creativity. Encourage different viewpoints and “what if” thinking. Don’t fall in love with the first new idea that someone suggests. Push your team to continually brainstorm.
6. Comfort with Ambiguity. It is a messy world and some personalities have a harder time with this than others. Push yourself to have a “go with the flow” mindset even though it may be uncomfortable.
7. Resilience. Practice self-care so that you are able to be strong when unexpected challenges arise. Make sure you are getting your sleep and exercise regularly. Consider daily meditation.
8. Empathy. Create a habit of putting yourself in another person’s situation. “If I were her, how would I think about this and why?” “How would I feel about this situation?” Probe the thoughts and feelings of team members who are different from you in a caring way.
Take some of these ideas that appeal to you and add them to your own personal list. Maybe even update your leadership development plan and work to improve some of these qualities. One thing is for sure: we are all a work in progress. Continuous improvement is key for maximizing Mission Impact.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Knight, R., “8 Essential Qualities of Successful Leaders,” Harvard Business Review online, December 13, 2023.