Let’s face it honestly: many people, male or female, dream to develop traits that bring them closer to a charismatic leader.
A leader who, obviously a man, appears naturally equipped to lead groups, organizations or even states with broad consensus; one who always knows where to go and for that reason, many find it comfortable to follow, without challenging his or her thinking.
Is it in our best interest to develop skills that lead us to a leadership model we can define as charismatic?
Before answering this question and dwelling on the traits that enable a person to develop effective leadership, I want to share with you a definition of leadership that I have developed over the years; a definition that, in my experience, seems to successfully address the need to lead groups and organizations struggling with increasingly rapid and complex changes.
In my view, leadership is a…
… competence peculiar to someone who leads people, groups, or organizations
with a sense of responsibility and supports their action to achieve specific goals,
consistent with ones of the group and/or organization they are part of.
In this definition there are three crucial words:
From these three terms and their meanings, I have done my best, over time, to support my Clients’ work in developing a leadership model capable of leading change to a likely future.
On this premise, a person who shows effective leadership…
- … is aware that no matter how well prepared he/she may be, he/she will never hold all the knowledge necessary to deal with an increasingly complex world. That is why he/she considers anyone who stands beside him/her an asset, not an obstacle to the implementation of his/her ideas;
- … does not hide his doubts, because he knows he can make mistakes and takes upon himself the responsibility for the decision and the eventual mistake. For this reason, he listens to others even when he thinks he has the best solution. A solution that may turn out to be wrong and that other people’s suggestions can improve;
- …knows how to value and capitalize on diversity and multiculturalism, actively fighting stereotypes and prejudices of gender and race;
- … cares for others. And he does so with a long-term vision, to ensure a better world for future generations;
- … builds his resilience, which he puts at the service of the people he leads. That’s the reason he can react to setbacks positively, reframing goals and pursuing them with determination;
- … feels the responsibility to develop the vision of a realistic future, which he never tires of communicating and sharing. And he acts on the drivers that can generate in people the motivation to embrace that vision;
- … knows how to generate empathy. He does his best to understand the feelings and uncertainties of people, making them feel they are listened to and part of the future.
If you think that these attributes can help build a leadership model suited to managing an increasingly complex world, then you can also reflect on two key aspects:
- the charismatic leader model, the one man in command model, has no reason to be anymore. I believe it has done too much damage in the past, in all possible contexts, and many it still causes today;
- leadership is not male-exclusive. Also considering that characteristics such as empathic listening, caring for others, acceptance of error, and a sense of responsibility recur more frequently in female behaviour.
Two aspects I am deeply committed to and actively spreading them.
And you, what do you think?
PS. If this post does not confirm the idea of leadership you had in mind, don’t get discouraged: the one I propose is not only more effective but also challenging. So why not give it a try?
If you want to deepen your understanding of leadership, I am sure these links will stimulate your interest: