I’m always interested to see a list of “top leadership traits.” When I was still running a company, I would scan it and see how I measured up. Perhaps you do this.
On November 19th, the Wall Street Journal had this article:
“Tough CEOs Often Most Successful, a Study Finds.”
A week later, also in the WSJ, this title:
“Are You CEO Material? Find Out With This Test.”
Both articles referred to the same recent University of Chicago business school study. From the study, “here are five CEO traits that correlate most closely with business success . . . :” (Check yourself)
- Attention to detail
- Analytical skills
- Setting high standards
. . . and the five leadership traits that score lowest:
- Strong oral communication
- Listening skills
So how do you measure up?
I was prompted to grab some books and magazines off my shelves. In the Fall issue of Leader to Leader magazine, I found the article on Servant Leadership by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Here’s their “five-point list that represents the key practices that most often surface in the very best leaders:”
- See the future.
- Engage and develop others.
- Reinvent continuously.
- Value results and relationships.
- Embody the values.
John Maxwell has his 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. D.A. Burton offers you How to Think Like a CEO – The 22 Vital Traits You Need to be the Person at the Top. Kouzes & Posner, in their exhaustive Leadership Challenge identify the “five practices of exemplary leadership:
- Model the way.
- Inspire a shared vision.
- Challenge the process.
- Enable others to act.
- Encourage the heart.
What list are you following?
There is wisdom in these lists and the writings that accompany them. They are often developed by consultants and professors who are seeking common themes that can apply to the masses.
I’ve learned to use such lists with care. The Leaders I talk with are very unique. So are the present demands of the companies they lead.
I ask Leaders these questions for them to develop their own “Top Five” List of what they need to be focused on as Leader:
- What does your company most need from you as it’s Leader right now? Often, this perspective is helped by the objective assessment of others – board members, executive team members, key customers, shareholders, etc.
- What are your unique Leadership strengths? Again, others who serve with the Leader can be helpful here.
- Where are the gaps in the answers to 1 and 2?
- How do you grow personally to fill the gaps or surround yourself with others to fill them?
What’s on your List?