21Jul

3 key traits of a successful leader like Mandela

Extract from Forbes and John Ryan
The 3 key traits of an effective leader are 
– driven by an inspiring vision of success. – excelled at communication.
–  they have exercised superior judgment.
– luck

1. Vision (BHAV)
– Henry Ford dreamed of a car families could afford. 
– Steve Jobs dreamed of an easy-to-use computer that would unleash creativity. – – Nelson Mandela dreamed of an integrated, prosperous Rainbow nation 
– Mark Zuckerberg – connecting the world 
– Bull Gates – putting a of on every persons desk
– Elon Musk – saving the planet 

These visions were deep-seated passions, magnetic enough to capture the minds of just a few devoted followers at first but ultimately the imaginations of millions of women and men.

A compelling vision inspires, clarifies and focuses the work of individuals–and preferably entire organizations–for a lengthy span of time. It creates the heart – the reason for being! 

What is your vision?  Do you even have one? Often, in the rush to get things done, to launch a new project or product, we ask people to get behind our efforts without ever really giving them a good reason why. 

Your vision need not be as grandiose as Mandela’s, Gates or Jobs – Just pick something that matters, something that excites both you and your colleagues.

2. Be sure to communicate your vision

It doesn’t help if no-one knows what your vision is! Be sure to share it and communicate effectively 

How important was the leader , and how important was the first follower?

Stopping to talk and listen can seem a waste of time. It’s easy to cut off debate too early, especially during your deadline !

Sharing strategies with your team or talking  directly with your clients 

But so is listening to them 

Lafley head of P and G – listen to his consumers – and  holds regular focus groups with buyers of P&G products. That’s one of his top priorities. He’ll visit them in their homes and join them for shopping trips to get their feedback, and he does so all over the world. He lavishes the same attention on his employees, meeting them in their offices, listening to their ideas and thanking them for their service. 

3. Making superior Judgment calls – doing the right things – which are rooted in your character, become your legacy. 

Without the right values, judgment can easily be trumped by perverse incentives that encourage poor ethical choices. 

Noel Tichy says – not every single judgment call you make needs to be correct. But you need to make the right calls consistently on the big choices involving strategy and talent. 

Good strategy judgment frequently means a leader must find a new path when his organization is heading in the wrong direction.

Ann Mulcahy became CEO of Xerox when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. She led a phenomenal recovery by exercising great judgment. 

– She also got out into the field to meet her employees and scout talent. 

– She surrounded herself with good people and made sure they knew she needed them. 

– She looked into the future and saw brighter days ahead for Xerox, even when key advisers were urging her to consider bankruptcy. 

In her view, that future depended on re-engaging with customers through a strong sales team, launching innovative products by investing in research and development and reinventing the company’s approach to its operating expenses. That strategy, developed in cooperation with her colleagues, rallied the entire organization. It provides a fine model for us as well.

About John Ryan

John Ryan is president of the Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of leadership education and research. He previously served as chancellor of the State University of New York and superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md. He was a pilot during a 35-year career in the Navy, retiring as a vice-admiral.

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