Leadership – The Differentiator!

Whenever posed with the topic of Leadership, it was always instinctive that leadership is a trait that is inborn for great leaders are such rarity. And as such, we often encounter the so-called effective leadership programs especially if one is in the corporate world. Such programs often involve trainings, sessions, assessments and the like which the speaker mentions having hardly any visible progress on the employees, in spite of such heavy investments. This is what she seems to have heard from people around for she has spent around 25 years observing the leadership traits.  

This TED talk questions as to what makes a great leader ? And I am surprised to find how the speaker connected it to our attitude and character building. In a nutshell, it’s all about how we develop our personality and the outlook. A very obvious but not so easy to explain question has it simplified by the speaker in the form of three basic questions; 

Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?  

The speaker further asks the viewer to introspect as to with whom one tends to spend time with. Experimentation and being ready for the days ahead in anticipation of likely changes is what distinguishes a great leader from others. A great leader is always ready to face the consequences who believes in action, rather than the reaction to unforeseen circumstances. In short, a great leader works towards shaping the future.

What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? 

We often tend to develop a deep connection with people with whom we are comfortable. However, the test of a great and efficient leader is who can establish a good connection with people who are diversified and might not be easy to handle. The differences can be in lot of perspectives – biological, physical, functional, political, socio-economic and cultural. Despite the differences, a great leader is someone who can be connected with easily and hence be trustworthy. Great leaders perceive this as a great chance to identify different patterns because of the highly diverse network they develop and who could come up with myriad solutions. I personally think this is one of the biggest differentiators of a great leader from the rest. 

Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? 

This question roots back to the one in the above point for which the speaker says that a great leader tends to avoid a practice with which he/she has become familiar/comfortable with. Instead, he/she tries to experiment and accept being different. Such leaders who build the emotional stamina to withstand roadblocks are often seen as perpetrators of the ‘courageous leap’.  

When we, especially the Management students, are often taught about the differences between a Leader and a Manager, this talk perfectly breaks the flow. It made me question my inherent concepts on leadership and provoked me to introspect my inner self.  

Here’s the link to this interesting talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader