Before we dive into the “requirements” of how to be a successful leader, a quick refresher on the differences of management and leadership, as they get thrown often into the same pot. However, they are completely different by definition. Management is a skill set and leadership is an ability. Management skills can be learned and deal manly with the task to execute on processes to support the company’s vision and strategy. Leadership is one step up management and deals mainly with the ability to formulate a clear strategy and vision and to get management successfully execute on one’s vision and strategy.
The Main ingredients of a “Real” Leader
To be a successful leader the so called “soft skills” or rather abilities such as “empathy” become of high importance. The ability to relate to others, to understand what motivates others, what are their self interest to get the best out of the people becomes the main focus of a true leader. However the prerequisite for these relationship competencies rest on a foundation of self-knowledge, self-awareness. Those competencies are directly linked with the success or failure of a CEO’s ability to formulate, articulate and lead a strategic vision for a motivated, energized organization. Self-knowledge builds clarity about objectives; it fine-tunes one’s understanding the perspectives, values, aims and personality traits of others.
The recipe to “Real” leadership
Self-awareness needs a lot of courage and strength. It means to open up to ones vulnerabilities and fears. Being able to look into the mirror and do an honest self-appraisal about ones emotional strengths and weaknesses; values and attitudes, personality traits and unresolved conflicts. To accept one self as a “whole” person with all different shades makes one authentic.
Being an authentic leader means others will follow you. Your behavior, your words and actions match and others can now relate to you on all levels. They know instinctively you are true to who you are and therefore you are strong in your leadership abilities. That nothing will easily make you falter. That you stand to your word and you will do what you said you would do. Providing a framework of trust for others into your abilities to lead them to success.