Ignore the Overhype — Leadership Qualities That Really Are Everything

We all know the “it” words for leadership qualities today, those buzzwords that pop up over and over to describe the qualities leader aspire to. Frankly, I’m totally over words like “ninja” and “guru.” But there are several words that are common in today’s management vernacular that really do describe great leaders. If you’re a leader or aspiring to be one, I hope you’ll find these valuable.

Authenticity (my personal favorite…)

“Authenticity [is] the continuous process of building self-awareness of our whole person, as well as being transparent with others about our whole person, both strengths and limitations. As a result, more often than not, the authentic leader’s beliefs, values, principles, and behaviors tend to line up. Commonly referred to as ‘walking the talk,’ authenticity also means being your talk at a very deep level. The practice of authenticity is so much more than simply being true to ourselves, it also requires being true with others.” — Read more at Forbes.com.

Self-awareness

“[Self awareness] is made up of two types of knowledge. One is what people normally think of, which is that introspective awareness, seeing ourselves clearly, knowing what we value, what we aspire to do. But equally importantly and frequently neglected is the idea that we should also know how other people see us. What I found is there are quite a few people who possess one of those types of knowledge, but not the other. That’s really where it gets in their way. What we’ve learned through our research is that people who have both types of self-knowledge and balance them are the ones who are the most successful at work and in life.” — Read more at Knowledge@Wharton.

Emotional Intelligence

“Leaders need THE critical leadership skill: emotional intelligence (EI) [or] ‘regulating emotions.’ The benefits of regulating emotions include collaborating effectively, being more empathetic, communicating to produce desired results, interpersonal skills, amicable conflict resolution and so on. Studies have proven that organizations whose leaders have higher EI are more profitable. … EI is thus more valuable than technical competence.” — Read more at TrainingIndustry.com.

Purpose-Driven

“Employees’ understanding of and alignment with the company’s purpose should be regularly discussed and measured as a predictor of outcomes related to safety, retention, performance and profitability. Managers should help employees understand why their work matters and how it aligns with the company’s purpose. Discussions connecting individual and team successes to the larger organizational mission or purpose need to be frequent. Recognition programs — in addition to highlighting exceptional work — must connect performance to the purpose of the organization.” — Read more at Gallup.com.

Growth Mindset

“Great leaders are governed by growth mindsets. They understand that they can continue improving and help those around them do the same. … With a growth mindset, you can see the good in every situation. Even when you fail — and you’re human, so you’ll fail from time to time — you won’t be defeated. Instead of giving up and going home, you’ll begin to look at every situation as a learning experience. When you fail, you’ll figure out what went wrong and work on making sure it doesn’t happen next time.” — Read more at TinyPulse.com.

What’s a leadership quality “buzzword” that you actually like — or on you have heard more than enough of? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading expert on millennials and the multigenerational workplace, trusted by global companies, universities and the world’s top media outlets. A New York Times bestselling author and keynote speaker, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her presentations have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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