I spend my days detecting whether people are or have the potential to be great leaders. Too often I see people who have successfully graduated from a top business school, who have a sharp and analytical mind and come up with an endless stream of new ideas but who I don’t consider as potential to be great leaders.
Why are there so few who are able to take leadership to the next level? Or are only superheroes capable of being a true leader?
Intelligence and technical skills are merely threshold capabilities, the basic capabilities you need allowing you to have the potential to become a great leader. True leaders have other attributes in addition to these entry-level requirements; capabilities such as charisma, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and courage.
I already covered charisma in a previous blog (http://ingeniumsearch.blogspot.be/2015/02/will-charismatic-leader-please-rise.html). Today will be all about self-awareness.
The Delphic oracle gave the advice to ‘know thyself’ thousands of years ago but in today’s age, asking the dreaded question ‘what would you like to improve about yourself’ leads most of the time to long silences. Cliché responses such as ‘I’d like to have more patience’ or ‘I’d like to be less stubborn’ are usual suspects. These are merely textbook responses from recruitment advisors who tell you to select a characteristic that can also be explained in a positive way.
Being self-aware means having a deep understanding of your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives. It is knowing what you like to do and what you are really good at. But it is also knowing what you are less good at and what you dislike doing.
Knowing your areas of weakness does not make you weak, quite the contrary.
First of all, it allows you to delegate these tasks that you are less good at to others who are strong in these areas. Rather than believing that they can do it all, great leaders surround themselves with people who complement their skills.
Secondly, knowing what you are good at will mean that you are less likely to set yourself up for failure by overstretching on an assignment. You know when to ask for help and how to calculate the risks you take on a job.
Thirdly, if you are capable of assessing yourself honestly you are most likely well suited to assess risks and opportunities within the organization that you run.
So next time I ask you about areas for improvement, don’t be a superhero but be self-confident. Be frank in admitting failure and tell your tales with a smile. Know about your limitations and become comfortable talking about them.
But at the same time, share with me your strengths and the areas you excel in.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company
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