Super Leader - out of this world?
I recently attended a leadership debate in Guernsey with an expert panel drawn from public and private sectors. Different members of the panel identified these skills that make for a great leader:
- Charisma (communication and interpersonal skills)
- Courage & compassion
These are really great qualities and I would endorse them all! Yet the questions is, from where do these (and other great leadership qualities) come from? Are we born with them? Can we develop them? Are these skills forged in the midst of struggle? How do we know if we possess them? It can sometimes seem that our expectations for leadership imply a super-human, otherworldly set of qualities that simply cannot be achieved!
In a previous post, I've discussed whether leaders are born or made. In this one, I am pointing towards knowledge - insight into our behviours, motivations, blind spots and propensity towards great leadership qualities - as by far the best starting point to developing them. In short, you cannot change what you do not know. If we simply ignore our nagging pain and stress we miss the opportunity to overcome our less-than great skills. It's like choosing not to go to the GP when you have pain; at some point, it will build and prevent you from living a healthy life. Understanding what we 'have' (and don't have) is crucial if we want to develop qualities such as those expounded by leadership experts, including in Guernsey last week.
Where can we find out; where can we gain this knowledge? We can ask others, we can spend time reflecting on our actions and behaviours. And, most effectively, we can look to science and objective data for answers. At LifeThrive, we use the Quality of Motivation Quotient, using science developed predominately by Dr Martin as one powerful tool to gain insight. This helps us to see how positively or negatively motivated our colleagues & clients are. We can assess for productive skills (ambition, accountability, awareness, agility) - those that make for great leaders; and for counterproductive skills (defeating, sabotage, punishment, martyring). This data allows us to explore character qualities; those that propel us forward and those that hold us back. Once identified, counterproductives can be addressed via a personal development plan. We've seen some remarkable changes over just a few months in the personal and leadership qualities of many of our people.
We need not look to Krypton for great leaders. We can look a lot closer to home. But we do need to look.