The Power Paradox: Can Leadership be Learnt?
Effective leadership is crucial to business performance, but from the outside it appears that the ability to lead is innate.
The question is simple: Can executives learn how to be better leaders?
Our research shows that there are certain attributes and mindsets attributed to effective, productive leadership.
By means of data analysis and people analytics, we arm our clients with the ability to understand how their leaders are performing in these areas, and which traits can be improved on.
Vulnerable, not defensive
The ‘traditional’ model of a leader was based on the military icons of old. Stoic, hard and immovable, leaders like Napoleon were viewed as invincible.
This stubborn approach to leadership is no longer relevant. The modern leader is defined by their humanity, and a core part of this is vulnerability.
This is not to be confused with weakness. Leaders still need to radiate a sense of decisiveness. Vulnerability here speaks to a willingness to collaborate and admit to shortcomings with the goal of growing.
Uncomfortable expectations, not unrealistic demands
The modern leader is no slave driver, although they have a knack for pushing people to deliver with uncomfortable urgency.
Expecting the impossible is a sign of a leader who is detached from the realities of their business. However, leaving the broader team to work at their own tempo rarely delivers exceptional results.
Great leaders know where to find the balance between challenging and impossible, and relentlessly drive their company by that expectation without sacrificing the work.
Frank, not hurtful
The days of tyrannical leadership based on fear are over.
Modern leaders have the ability to be frank in difficult situations. This means that they can remain objective and deliver stern warnings without launching a personal attack.
This sense of calm fairness means that potentially explosive situations are calmly diffused so everyone involved can focus on their output.
Ownership, not heroics
The leader of old would lead by example to the point where they dug their own grave with sheer workload.
The related skills of delegation, accountability and decisiveness mean that today’s leader does not suffer a similar fate of burnt out CEOs from yesteryear.
While putting in the extra hours is sometimes necessary, a leader who manages their time and tasks correctly is a far better example to their team.
Trained to lead
The above attributes are never found in perfect harmony in one leader. Board structures go some way in addressing any leadership imbalances, but most companies simply tolerate incomplete leadership profiles.
Our data shows that it is possible to identify the ways every leader can develop. This is not an opinion-driven approach: real data develops a blueprint for leaders to improve based on an ideal identified by a smart algorithm.
The result is a continuous improvement loop that drives leaders to better themselves, which means a step change in both corporate culture and productivity.