There is a lot spoken about leadership: many books, many courses and in Google, 175 Million results! One simple definition would be that a leader is a person who motivates a group of people to a common goal. But what do they look like? Can we spot the leaders of the future?
We all have a view as to what makes a good leader; perhaps more felt that known, and possibly tainted by historical abuses. Despite this we have a strong desire for great leadership and I believe there are indications that we consider the future profile quite different from the ‘command and control’ version of the past.
This is a cultural move, looking for leaders that can cope with a constantly changing world and remain true to themselves and others.
It’s the leader that Jim Collins’ team in Good to Great couldn’t deny as the type required to make a company great. It’s the person that Seth Godin speaks of in Linchpin - indispensable and literally ‘remarkable’. She’s Susan Scott’s leader in Fierce Leadership who turns best practices into real life and lives by them.
I think if you meet them they look like this:
They are really present, listening to you and you become conscious that they know to do the right thing. They have strong integrity. You feel energised with them and want to be like them, totally engaged in the work. But it is not all work, as they are able to rest and relax, creating space for others. They display emotion appropriately, especially fear, which they don’t deny but find the right response to, showing courage (although they don’t see it like that). Being self aware they don’t defend their mistakes, seeing self-improvement as an opportunity, and so accept and give support easily. They often talk about the important ones in their life. They include you in discussion, and value your perspective. They are creative, often surprisingly coming up with new alternatives, which fit the need.
My suggestion is that this is a leader. There are many of them out there. Some who I talk to are only just realising that they are leaders. Some will lead their companies who desperately need new leaders, leading in new ways, to move forward. Some will deliver new models of business but not suffer the exclusions because they are able to relate. All are superbly able within their core skills to deliver excellence. Being truly present and greatly humble, they naturally lead others to the right common goals.