Picking up where we left off with Adam Bryant’s interviews with CEOs and the qualities he identified in some 70 leaders, here are the
D. Simple Mind-Set: Be concise, get to the point and make it simple. Be practical. Be succinct. Drop the power point or keep it so very, very short. Give information ahead for others to read and then be prepared to enter the meeting and ready to answer key questions. Simply.
E. Fearlessness: While risk taking is key, it is risk as calculated and informed. Leaders want their teams to get results. Leaders do not want to see complacency from their team members ---rather they want them to be thinking ahead of what is coming next, or creating what it is…otherwise one is left behind. Such requires a level of fearlessness---an appetite for such fearlessness. Taking calculated and informed risks with people, with ideas, with what can be done.
Along with these five qualities, I would add that “self-awareness.” Research conducted by Teresa Amabile, at Harvard Business School and her team, she studied a range of professionals in various fields and learned that often individuals lacked a sense of awareness of self ---the result is that such a flaw that can have enormous impact on an organization. Warren Bennis, a leadership guru past, often stated that having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drive is missing in leaders. He further claims that unless we understand these areas, we are unlikely to achieve a level of insight and understanding required for success.
In Amabile’s study she found that leaders with higher levels of self-awareness created marked improvements in organizational performance.
“Can self-awareness be taught?” She claims that it is hard to know as so few executive educational programs---MBAs, for example, do not teach such courses. Amabile offers that self-awareness can be taught when a) there is honest, consistent and frequent feedback; b) on going coaching and c) reflection. Spend time every day seeking feedback and self-reflecting. Spend time with a coach regularly.