What Makes a Great Leader ?
Who does not want to be recognized as a key person in their community, able to inspire others and influence them positively? This question, which over the years has been the subject of numerous studies and observations, is all the more relevant today because the world in which we operate has never been so global, so fast and so demanding. Can what made yesterday’s leaders create tomorrow’s? What are the ingredients that characterize the greatest leaders of the world today?
I don't pretend to have all of her answers, but Roselinde Torres offers some very relevant ones. Ms. Torres is a partner in the firm BCG (Boston Consulting Group), known worldwide for working with the most influential organizations in the world, whether private, public or non-profit. Her career over the past 25 years, her survey of 4,000 companies and her numerous meetings with great leaders has enabled him to isolate three fundamental characteristics which are common to them. In her excellent speech recently posted on TED, she explains that corporate leadership programs are often inadequate for training the leaders of tomorrow. By three key questions, it exposes the attributes that characterize today's great leaders. I invite you to watch her presentation (about 9 minutes) to know them.
This inspiring video highlights three important characteristics of leadership: the ability to anticipate change, the strength of complementarity and the courage to question oneself. I would like to add to them and add a few that I have observed over the years in the homes of leaders I have known or read about. They were all recognized for their ability to influence, develop and orient those around them. They are, for me, a constant source of inspiration.
The leader is vulnerable
Leaders have long been defined as people immune to criticism, always being right and showing little emotion. Today’s leader is not afraid to ask questions. He regularly asks the opinion of those around him. If he makes the wrong decision, he is not afraid to admit that he was wrong. By opening up emotionally, he creates a climate of trust around him and surrounds himself with people who will give him theirs. Her vulnerability is a strength.
The leader is a reed
In a world where the only constant is change, the modern leader knows how to adapt and anticipate change. He sees the changes as opportunities to achieve his goals otherwise. He does not fold his back in the face of adversity. In a situation of great upheaval, he keeps his calm and creates a reassuring environment around him.
The leader gives more than he takes
Generosity characterizes most great leaders. Did you know that Bill Gates is one of the largest philanthropists in the world and that he will give more than 95% of his fortune by the end of his life (more than $ 30 billion)? Whether mentoring younger people, donating time (or money) to charities, or sharing their experience in writing, today's leader gives without waiting in return (often discreetly). He knows that generosity is not calculated in hours or dollars. He is aware that "giving" and "receiving" are not communicating vessels.
The leader knows how to listen and understand
The Chinese philosopher Confucius wrote: "If a man has two ears and a mouth, it is to listen twice as much as he speaks." The great leader knows how to listen actively and attentively. In a world where noise (real and virtual) is omnipresent, the leader knows how to distinguish the most relevant information. He can also understand the unspoken, the emotions and interpret the missing information. His ability to listen and interpret does not hinder him in his decision-making. After having consulted and listened, he knows how to take difficult decisions and take them.
The leader thinks differently
By frequently questioning himself, the great leader opens up to new approaches. By constantly being informed, he educates himself and draws inspiration from the best. He knows how to take this mass of information and adapt it to its context. The great leader questions the established rules and paradigms. He knows how to influence those around him and create an environment conducive to innovation to "do things differently".
The leader stays the course
Dr. Steven R. Covey (author of the excellent book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) wrote "Begin with the end in mind". The great leader knows his goals and visualizes them. However, he knows how to adapt and adjust the path to reach them. He knows in advance that external (or even internal) factors will shake him up in his plan. But by staying the course and surrounding himself with a quality crew, he knows that he will arrive at his destination.
The leader has style
The dress presentation can concern at the same time the clothes we wear, our hairstyle, our shoes, our jewelry, our bags and our makeup. First of all, when it comes to clothes, their style can depend on their material, size, color, pattern and brand. They can be fashionable or old-fashioned and they can demonstrate the passion of those who wear them, including: a musician, a fan of cartoons, a fan of manga, a fan of video games, ... otherwise, it is a way of expressing a point of view without having to describe it in words. Hence the importance of always being well dressed at all times. Today's leaders know how to adapt their style to the context; relaxed, sophisticated or versatile, they must always be recognized by their own look and set an example in all circumstances without ever copying, but keeping their unique touch."A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. -John C. Maxwell "