It goes without saying that effective, human centered leadership skills are critical for any business’ success. Fortunately, the three foundational leadership qualities that any invested leader needs are attainable for all – young or old, male or female. They are gender blind, culture blind and age indifferent. The antiquated notion that men are somehow better leaders than women is simply untrue and has been shown to be false time and time again.
Every individual brings his or her unique skill set and specific flavor to a leadership role, but this is never determined by gender. Our uniqueness is determined by the complex mix of life experiences, personality and individual choice; with specific leadership intelligence achieved through education and application. Despite what we each bring to the role, the foundational qualities for a successful leader are universal, and I am excited to share them with you:
Design a vision and architect change
Quite simply, leaders lead. They are positive change makers and are skilled architects in the creation of the environment around them. A great leader has the commitment, understanding and creative ability to design a future that is better than the present. A future that is both achievable and believable. A future that promotes a deep understanding of personal values and standards and inspires a community of people focused on common goals and achievements.
Characteristics of a Designer: Creative, Curious, Bold, Driven
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Develop a commitment to sustainable personal growth
Great leadership is all about self-management – an individual’s ability to maintain a positive internal state that ensures they are focused and disciplined towards achieving an outcome. They have conscious self-awareness, acutely understand the impact of their leadership style on those around them; and are adaptable to the ever-changing environment around them. Intelligent leaders eat feedback for breakfast and actively seek the opportunity to engage in transformational thinking.
Characteristics of a Sustainer: Self Aware, Reflective, Adaptable, Resilient
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Lao Tzu
Understand and influence human behavior
Influential leaders have a sound understanding of human behavior and have created a significant level of personal adaptability and flexibility within their own personal behavior set in order to persuasively influence others. They are able to comfortably navigate difficult landscapes due to their belief in their own ability to both appreciate and predict behavior in others. Influential leaders are masters at creating and delivering compelling stories that not only inspire others to get on board; but also foster self-belief and a willingness from others to contribute to the community around them.
Characteristics of an Influencer: Flexible, Trustworthy, Observant, Persuasive
Leadership is gender blind. The qualities, personal essence and skills of great leadership are attainable for all who seek. The core of great leadership will always be the core of great leadership, regardless of institution, task or environment. When we ensure an unshakable core of creative design; personal sustainability and persuasive influence, we position ourselves to make a difference in the world around us.