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A new kind of leadership is key to prosperity

Good leadership is the key to organizational effectiveness and social and economic prosperity. But – because of all these forces – the traditional model for what constitutes a good leader is changing. How we develop our leaders must change too. The Institute of Leadership and Management, Europe’s leading management organization, recently conducted a survey of HR professionals from global businesses, who emphasized a distinct set of personal characteristics that future leaders need to possess. They now seek visionary, motivational and inspirational people who are emotionally intelligent, trustworthy, natural leaders and communicators, and who are also driven and ambitious.

Said the ILM: ‘HR professionals want leaders who can understand, inspire and motivate people. The ability to motivate and inspire others was the characteristic most commonly cited as important when recruiting senior leaders.’

Power, title authority or even competency are no longer enough to make you a great leader. Rather it is the ability to earn and then keep the loyalty and trust of those whom you are leading that will make you great. That means adding value to their lives, constantly, in order to build the bond that can survive mistakes, downturns, obstacles and intense competition that inevitably will arise.

Followers won’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. Rational argument and intellect will not compete with strong emotional or philosophical positioning. Great leaders are able to provide common purpose and meaning to all sorts of people. Great relationships take a huge amount of energy and commitment, but it is trust that binds all of those different people together – and trust takes a long time to build and can be lost in an instant.

Emotionally intelligent communication is a key leadership success factor. I am persuaded that by far the majority of leadership effectiveness is related to emotional intelligence such as authenticity, integrity, openness, empathy and listening skills, and much less is related to IQ or technical competence. The biggest obstacle to some leaders in shaping the future is not lack of expertise but rather a failure in relationship management and poor communication.

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