Many executive leaders I work with ask for a simple way to put together leadership qualities to remember and practice. This Coacharya 7C Leadership Wheel puts together what all reputed and successful global corporations look for in their successful leaders.
Take a look, question and refine further.
Also called Executive Presence, Charisma is the quality of gravitas that the leader exudes with confidence establishing a sphere of psychological safety in the organization. Charisma is an aura of hope, optimism and growth that surrounds the leader and fuels the organization.
Leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela possessed charisma in abundance despite their minority status. They influenced powers far bigger than them to bend to their will. In the corporate space recent examples are Richard Branson and Warren Buffet, to mention a few. When they speak people listen.
Without charisma you may still be a great leader but no will recognize you as one.
Some refer to this as servant leadership. The leader strives to fulfill what others need of them and expect of them. The leader understands pain points and works to resolve them. The leader places the other, customer, employee or follower above him selflessly. Sometimes leaders lead others to needs they did not know they had.
Akio Morita with Walkman and Steve Jobs with Apple created products that were not derived from traditional market research but from intuitive understanding of unmet needs not fully understood by the consumer. They were dedicated to fulfilling customer needs.
Leaders without customer centricity caused disasters like Enron and the 2008 loan bubble.
Influencing and inspiring others, engaging them in thought, speech and action, establishing empathy and trust are the primary qualities of leadership. The leader communicates authentically, directly and openly.
Leaders are storytellers. They move effortlessly between reality and vision, between future hope and current despair, lifting spirits. Ability to communicate values and beliefs is perhaps the most powerful differentiator of great leaders.
Recall Abraham Lincoln with his Gettysburg speech, King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech’ and Jobs with his Stanford graduation speech. A leader who cannot communicate well is like a wine without bouquet.
Many talk about sharing a vision when they mean they are handing down a vision developed by a few at the top, the elite. Such vision is not owned by others who did not take part in its making. Vision will only be effective when the leader creates an emotional bond with his team and co-creates a vision that is owned by all.
Many claim to do this. Very few do this consistently and successfully. GE Work-Out under Jack Welch was a great example of this at the work place level for performance enhancement. Some questions are: did it survive Welch, if not why not? Did it impact GE strategy? Should it have?
Vision unless co-created will not create responsibility and accountability in those who need to execute it.
A co-created vision results in outcome only when each co-creator accepts accountability for one’s role in the vision and engages in collaborative action. In cultures that celebrate individual performance need for team performance can get discounted.
Japanese companies follow the ringiseido process of making decisions, unique in its consensus decision-making and collaborative action approach. Many American companies, especially automakers borrowed parts of this approach to reinvent themselves in the eighties.
Many executives fail because they are aggressively competitive. In a fast changing VUCA world collaboration is the key to success.
Leaders care about societies they operate in, local and global. Leaders do not limit organizational stakeholders to customers, vendors and employees. They reach out to the communities they operate in treating them as business partners. Many companies today in many parts of the world encourage employee volunteer involvement in their local communities.
Such community relationship makes sound business logic. Companies caring for communities develop a loyal market from communities that care about the company and its products.
Some call this Sustainability. Some term this as double bottom line. Leaders not only expand the space of their responsibility in space to a larger related community, but also expand the time and space to the future far beyond the current generation and the surrounding community.
Many global corporations embrace the three sustainability pillars of economic, environmental and social responsibility as part of their conscious management culture. In India the Government mandates that a percentage of profits of corporations be spent on Corporate Social Responsibility programs.
Focusing on the present while embracing future viability has become a leadership responsibility. This bodes well for the future of our world.