In common with most leadership coaches I’m often inundated with surveys along the lines of “which of these attributes do you consider to be most important in a leader” that then go on to list a series of skills all of which could be considered the most important in a given scenario but as a respondent you are allowed to choose only one. The other day a colleague of mine raised the latest survey request with me over coffee.
“So which one did you choose” he asked “I bet you went for communication”
“Well actually no I didn’t. In fact I never respond to those sorts of questionnaires. Sure, I suppose that they prompt debate which in itself is no bad thing but I’m not convinced that they take things forward very much.”
“Ok I take your point on the simplicity of this approach – so if I were to give you free rein what would you say?” he responded.
“That’s a pretty big question” I replied. “but I think I’d start by talking about self-awareness.”
“In my book anybody aspiring to a position of leadership must be acutely aware of who they are, what they stand for and how they impact on the people they interact with on a day to day basis. Good leaders are reflective by nature and their re-evaluation process is second nature to them.
In essence a good leader will have a deep rooted understanding of their core values, be emotionally aware, understand their motives and goals and will know and trust their feelings. I believe that self-awareness provides the anchor that enables a leader to make decisions and take action.” I concluded.
“So that’s your starting point – where next?” inquired my colleague.
“I think that’s the subject of next week’s coffee break…..”