Each week there are new books released on the topic of effective leadership and management. Clearly there is a wide audience seeking the perfect formula for success. Over the course of my career I have built a library from many of these titles. What occurs to me is that the majority of these qualities are developed long before arriving at the executive suite.
My list of seven qualities, distilled from experience and the wisdom of others include: competence, confidence, common sense, clarity, creativity, curiosity and caring.
You develop your expertise with education, experience and mentoring. As you test our your knowledge you gain confidence in your abilities. But having confidence and a basic working knowledge of your field is only the beginning.
Take that knowledge and experience and apply common sense, plain, ordinary good judgment. Maybe this is the ‘go with your gut’ mentality, provided your gut is led by an accurate read of the facts.
Adam Bryant, the New York Times journalist has interviewed hundreds of CEOs for his weekly Corner Office column in the Sunday Business section. In his book, ‘The Corner Office’ he described five essentials for success. One is ‘a simple mindset’. A leader must convey their goals clearly so that each of the employees can identify with the organization’s direction. If you have more than five goals, you may want to go back and edit.
Creativity continues to be a leadership ‘buzzword’. The authors of ‘The Innovator’s DNA’ suggest that creativity can be learned and define the building blocks to get there. However, if you are not curious, you will never be creative.
The last, but most important on the list is caring. If you do not genuinely care for your colleagues, employees, clients, investors and community you limit your opportunity to succeed.
Think about your portfolio. Where are your strengths related to these seven categories? Where are the gaps?
Explore ways to fill in the blanks. Identify experiences, education and people who can help you. And don’t limit yourself to your current career field, open yourself to the wealth of multidisciplinary resources.