Are you a leader?
I attended a very interesting event organised by Limerick Chamber of Commerce recently on Leadership and it got me thinking about leadership and what I look for in identifying good leaders.
My own view is that leadership is in short supply in our world and it is difficult to find good leaders. In my own experience leadership is one of the most important factors in recruiting people for senior roles and in many cases ranks ahead of technical expertise and industry experience. I have great admiration for people who are willing and able to lead and I have had the privilege of observing their traits over the years which I have outlined below.
What I admire in a leader.
- Has strong self-belief based on deep rooted values which generates confidence and conviction.
- Has good self-awareness, knows his/her strengths and weaknesses so that they can manage themselves effectively.
- Has empathy and emotional intelligence which are powerful skills in leading an organisation but relatively rare.
- Is motivated to lead because leadership is required rather than for ego and prestige.
- Is comfortable in his/her own skin and doesn’t need “to be loved” and is not over-reliant on the reaffirmation of others. Leadership can be a lonely place.
- Is very strong on creating a vision that they are passionate about and in motivating the team to deliver on that vision.
- Is decisive and brave when decisions have to be made.
- Is humble and willing to listen to others and to change direction if required.
- Has good communications skills and an appreciation of the importance of good communications. My own preference is for people who can deliver their message with less rather than more words but always with courtesy. It can be an indicator of a strong intellect and confidence in what it being said.
- Enjoys a challenge, does not like ambiguity, waffle or excuses and will seek both responsibility and accountability.
If I had to pick one thing it would be decisiveness. I would be interested in your views as I am sure there are plenty of relevant traits that I have omitted.