Being a great leader involves a different skill set than being a great manager. Being a leader is much more human, and is about connecting with people on a real level. Managers can have experience in economics, marketing, and operations without the chance to hone their leadership skills at the same time.
Business leaders must have a clear personal vision, a strong sense of purpose, and a desire to create a better future. This is because the key task of leadership is to bring hope to those that follow them. At least it is according to Professor Hannah Greenwood of Hult International Business School. She believes there are two elements of leadership: the essence of leadership, and the key task of a leader. Professor Greenwood believes the personal vision is the key task of a leader. This is why it needs to be clear and strong.
According to Dr. Douglas Labier, Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, D.C., to have a clear personal vision you must first have clear self-awareness. “The higher up you go in companies, the more you’re dealing with psychological and relational issues. Successful CEO leadership requires astuteness about others…And you can’t know the truth about another without knowing it about yourself… Self-knowledge and the relational competencies they’re linked with are central to a CEO’s ability to formulate, articulate and lead a strategic vision.”
Trust is the essence of leadership. It’s about creating trust between the CEO and the employees, stockholders, and customers. In order to have trust, the CEO must become trustworthy and that means having self-awareness.
The Champion Mindset
Professor Greenwood has created an internal thought process associated with great leadership into “The Champion Mindset” as a way of teaching others how to also be great leaders. She believes mastering integrity, charisma, and passion is crucial to reaching one’s greatest potential. She goes on to define passion, a word included on every resume and job ad available on the planet at the moment, as what truly makes one’s heart sing. Only once this joy is identified can there be a path to pursue it, which is what will inspire others to follow.
Charisma is something many people believe is genetic or is something some people simply have and others do not. This doesn’t have to be the case. In Greek it means “divine gift”, and Professor Greenwood believes most people don’t push through our natural shyness to communicate our passion and integrity — which is where charisma resides.
Many people adapt certain aspects of behavior, such as the inner good girl/boy wanting to please others. This is known as “the adapted self” and this can work well for managers until they are asked to be leaders. Since leaders require the authenticity of genuine human emotion, this persona or adapted self and hinder connections that need to be made. Finding “the authentic self”, or one’s true and highest potential.
Develop a clear vision making sure it encompasses what truly brings joy to one’s life is a sure fire way to become a great leader.