When 195 global leaders, covering 30 global businesses in over 15 countries vote on their Top 10 Leadership Qualities then I am going to take note!
The research on this topic was undertaken by Dr Sunnie Gile, President of Quantum Leadership Group, and shared in a recent article.
Her findings make fascinating reading and below I am reproducing her slide, which shows the results. Interestingly she has grouped her findings to highlight key messages for leaders.
Photo Credit: HBR.ORG
What I find particularly revealing is that the #1 is having high ethical and moral standards. Nothing about being charismatic, the great orator or the best networker. Just very simple - be ethical and moral.
When you couple that with #3 as Sunnie does, which is “Clearly communicate expectations” you realise that when the leader has both these competencies, there is a place of trust. In other words, I will know exactly what is expected of me and I can be confident that I will be treated with a sense of justice.
Add into that mix #2 - Provides goals and objectives with loose guidelines/direction - and you have a leader that delegates freely, only keeping a light hand on the tiller.
The “loose guidelines/direction” clearly indicated not only delegating but also letting go - and we know the two don’t always go together.
All the other competencies are about nurturing, connecting and belonging and not a mention of statistics, metrics, balance sheets and other such items. I am not diminishing the importance of any of those, but they are not the most important competencies when it comes to leading.
Clearly, the old “command and control” style of leadership is totally obsolete and is replaced by these competencies which while they might be categorised by some as the “soft” skills, they are actually the most demanding to emulate and to be seen as the living embodiment of.
If we are to truly stop managing and start leading, then we must embrace these competencies or our organisations will suffer greatly.