Leadership is a way of being – not a title
Last night I had the pleasure of leading a workshop for BCS Women Scotland in partnership with RBS Women and was delighted to facilitate a session about ‘The Leadership X-Factors’. This is a topic that has been researched at length by Jay Conger and Allan Church and detailed in their book ‘The High Potential’s Advantage’. You might remember that I mentioned this in last week’s email.
If you’ve been to one of my workshops, you’ll know that I like to engage with the group and encourage discussion. Last night was no exception with many contributions from the women in attendance.
One of the points we explored was the notion that anyone can be a leader and not all leaders are great.
So what makes someone truly inspiring and what makes a great leader?
There seemed to be a few themes surfacing in the room:
- Personal impact is essential – you always remember the way a leader makes you feel
- Great leaders inspire and create trust within the teams they lead
- Trust comes from knowing it’s OK to make a mistake, the leader sets the tone for that
- To fail is not to be a failure, it’s simply part of how we grow
- People follow leaders because they want to – something that Simon Sinek covers at length
- Humility plays a big part, many inspiring leaders don’t realise how inspiring they are
- Authenticity is key
- You must ‘lean in’ and be visible
In ‘The High Potentials Advantage’ Conger and Church identify 5 X-Factors that set high potential employees apart from everyone else. Namely, they are:
Situation Sensing – Rapidly sense your boss’s unique stylistic demands and priorities
Talent Accelerating – Assessing, guiding & motivating the teams you lead
Career Piloting – Taking assignments to develop and test your potential
Complexity Translating – Integrate and simplify information into a compelling narrative
Catalytic Learning – Keep learning and turn that into insights, initiatives and actions
These intrinsic qualities and attributes are definitely part of leadership and in reading their book I’ve found there are many themes that resonate with me especially when it comes to navigating your way through a large organisation.
And, when these are blended with other attributes like emotional intelligence, values and vision I think you’re onto something special.
The icing on the cake for me is when you can tailor all of this in a way that is authentic to you and to be able to lead with vulnerability.
The underlying message in my view is that it’s not about selling yourself out but rather having clarity about who you are as a leader, stepping into that and showing up in a way that only you can.
This is ‘being’ a leader.
I’m curious – what does ‘being a leader’ look like for you and what qualities have you noticed in the leaders who have inspired you?
Until next week,