The complexity of today’s global challenges requires a renewed focus on what makes an effective leader. For the past 53 years, the World Economic Forum has brought together many public and private sector leaders to collaborate on strategies and solutions.
Leaders today face multiple and interconnected challenges, from economic uncertainty to geopolitical fragmentation to the climate crisis. The complexity of these problems requires the training of certain distinctive traits that help make an effective leader.
Having had the opportunity to meet and observe a fair number of leaders in recent years, we have developed our own simple and practical definition of the key dimensions of effective leadership, identifying 6 distinctive qualities.
Soul: clarity of purpose
Leaders need a clear direction, whatever they choose to do. The driving force behind this purpose may come from deep convictions or values they aspire to live by, or it may come from an ambitious vision they seek to achieve.
Purpose encapsulates the dreams of a leader’s life, and its fulfillment helps them define their legacy and leave a positive impact on the world.
Leadership requires the competence and ability to operate successfully to achieve goals. Contextual intelligence is also essential, especially today when we live in a rapidly changing environment.
Leaders must develop the ability to think about systems to see the big picture and connect the dots.
Heart: passion and compassion
The emotional strength behind actions is important. Success can often be difficult to achieve because obstacles can exclude some opportunities. But with passion for their work and their potential impact, as well as compassion for others, leaders can engage individuals, communities, and institutions in a compelling commitment to a common goal.
Muscles: perseverance in translating ideas into action
Effective leaders provide teams and organizations with the energy they need to deliver results and achieve impact.
Purpose, professionalism, and passion can only go so far, if leaders do not also have the strength and perseverance to implement their ideas and bring them to fruition.
Nerves: positive mindset
All leaders encounter adversity, disruptions and many other sources of stress.
Resilience and a positive mindset are key to mastering these situations and emerging even stronger. “Mens sana in corpore sano,” a Latin phrase meaning “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” is probably the best recipe for resilience, as it emphasizes the power of maintaining a healthy balance in life-mentally, physically and emotionally.
In conclusion, there are two elements of fundamental focus in being a good leader, an effective leader capable of realizing his or her best vision for self, teams, and the organization:
– the ability to manage one’s emotions even and especially when they are consequent to high stress, staying focused on the goal, without allowing unconstructive or negative emotions to distract us;
– the ability to tune in emotionally with one’s team members as well, taking charge of the dynamics present and depowering the destructive aspects.
This can all be encapsulated in one expression: emotional intelligence.
All six dimensions of leadership are necessary to successfully deal with the complexity of today’s challenges, and through Consea Human Capital Consulting’s Executive Coaching we can support executives in their growth process, coaching them to develop role-specific skills as well as their personal leadership.
Today more than ever we need to lead with soul, brain, heart, muscle and nerves!
Gabriella Carello – General Manager Consea Human Capital Consulting