It is no exaggeration to say that there was a catastrophic failure of leadership in business in the lead up to the latest economic crisis.
We don’t need the benefit of hindsight to see that the combination of corporate/personal greed and the abandonment of time honored values e.g. prudent risk taking, have contributed hugely to the situation in which we now find ourselves as a society. We ended up with leaders who lacked the courage or insight to challenge the new conventional ‘wisdom’.
There are hundreds of books on the subject of leadership in business. My personal take on the subject of what it takes to be a good leader in business can be summarized as follows :
Good leaders ….
1. Have a clear vision for what they want to achieve, are reflective and clear thinking. They give a lot of attention to developing guiding principals/values and they live by these principals in the day to day exercise of their leadership roles. They behave with integrity towards others.
2. Assume ownership and responsibility. They show initiative and look for opportunities in every challenge. They are comfortable with uncertainty and will act to move an agenda forward even if the ‘end game’ is unclear.
3. Create a sense of common purpose and are humble. They do not rely on ‘position power’, rather focus on winning support through the merits of their arguments. They are good listeners and have excellent communication skills. They surround themselves with people who have complimentary skills and who will challenge them.
4. Favor long term goals over short term. They are calm under pressure and quickly recognize and adjust to changed circumstances. They are good at prioritizing and re prioritizing, while remaining true to their long term vision.
5. Are independent minded. They are prepared to make a stand on an important point of principal even when there are personal consequences. They are ambitious for success but personal popularity and advancement will not be their main drivers.
A tall order isn’t it !